And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43
Eternal salvation for man is the main reason Christ came into the world, willing to endure misery, accepting all suffering, and obeying the Father and dying on the cross. His whole life is aimed at carrying out the rescue mission and Christ has done it perfectly. Even to the hour of his death, He did not waste the opportunity to save the thief who was crucified with Him.
It becomes common that when one is crucified he will curse the one who crucified him as well as God. But the two crucified thieves heard the crucified man in their midst say “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing”.(Luke 23:32). This forgiveness begets mercy. One of the thieves welcomes God’s grace. Whereas, the thief on the left says, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself – and us too while you’re are at it!” (Luke 23:39)”. But the thief who is at Jesus’ right-hand answers saying, “don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? (40) We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” (Luke23:40-41)
This conversation may seem trivial, but we should not forget that every word that comes out of the crucified person is an expression of suffering and every breath becomes an ordeal. The thief on the right in his limitations has given his life for Christ and his hope in Christ. “Jesus remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” How awe-inspiring is the faith of this man who alone saw beyond the present shame to the coming glory!
An expression of hope and faith that is so simple and deep. And Jesus showed His love by answering: “I assure you; today you will be with me in paradise”.
As this man was about to die, he turned to Christ for forgiveness and Christ accepted him. This shows that our deeds don’t save us – our faith in Christ does. It is never too late to turn to God. Even in his misery, Jesus had mercy on this criminal who decided to believe in him. Our lives will be much more useful and fulfilling if we turn to God early, but even those who repent at the very last moment will be with God in paradise. “ To God be the glory forever”
Thresi Mauboy Wohangara.