Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Thief on The Cross

Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43)

The dying criminal had more faith than the rest of Jesus’ followers put together. Although the disciples continued to love Jesus, their hopes for the kingdom were shattered. Most of them had gone into hiding. As some of His followers sadly said two day later, “We had hoped that He was the one who was going to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21). By contrast, the criminal looked at the man who was dying next to him and said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” By all appearances, the kingdom was finished. How awe-inspiring is the faith of this man who alone saw beyond the present shame to the coming glory! Jesus promised eternal life to the thief, doing what the mockers had asked Him to do (Luke 23:39).


Word Focus: Paradise - (Gk. paradeisos) (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:4; Rev. 2:7) G3857: This word literally means “garden” or “park.” It was used with such a meaning in the Greek Old Testament in Eccl. 2:5; Song 4:13. The Septuagint also used paradeisos for the Garden of Eden (see Gen. 2:8). In later Jewish thought, Paradise is the place of the righteous dead in Sheol. Jesus perhaps alluded to this idea in His story of Lazarus going to Abraham in Luke 16:19–31. And when Jesus spoke to the thief on the Cross, He promised him that he would that day be with Him in Paradise (Luke 23:43). This again seems to indicate a pleasant place for the righteous among the dead. The promise of Paradise in Rev. 2:7 speaks of the restitution of an Edenic paradise, an everlasting home for believers (compare Gen. 2; Rev. 22).

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.

Father God, it is my prayer that when the unsaved world hears the truth of Your Word that they will accept Your free gift of salvation that only comes through Your Son Christ Jesus. Amen.

References: NKJV Holy Bible, Life Application Bible (NIV), the Nelson Study Bible.

18 comments:

Jeannette said...

You are putting your "retirement" time to work!
Thanks for visiting my blog.
A joyous celebration to you this Sunday...

One Heart (Marcia) said...

I had never compared the faith of the thief on the cross to that of the disciples. Amazing isn't it. Those who knew Him longer and were closer to Him waivered. I'm trying to grasp this and all I could come up with is out of my own experience, the faith of a fresh newborn Christian has not been tried. I remember the days when I thought mountains could move instantly. Although I still believe mountains can move, after all these years walking with Christ I can see He doesn't always choose my methods...and it does test me.

Thank you for sharing this. I wish you and your loved ones a glorious Easter, my friend.

Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...

Stopping by to say Happy Easter!

Have a memorable one.

BettyMan

joybug56 said...

Let us rejoice in the Celebration of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of our LORD JESUS CHRIST....

Enjoyed your post

The Angulo's said...

I love this truth that God forgives the repentant sinner right up until the final breath of life.Thanks for sharing.:)

May you and yours experience an apparent renewed and everlasting filling of the Holy Spirit this Easter.

Jenny said...

Wow! I had never thought of it like that!

Thank you for a beautiful post.

fuzzys dad said...

Great Post
Happy Easter

GOD thinker said...

Happy Resurrection Day Lloyd! Great post as usual!

Gerry said...

Amen. Happy Resurrection Day!

Erick Reinstedt said...

Thanks for the post. I remember once, so vividly, seeing the three crosses on the hill in my mind and thinking, "There's two men, both who deserve to die in their sins, and the only thing that is between them is Jesus." I can't quite explain it, it was so profound, but it was almost like seeing the Bible---there was the Old Testament (Old Covenant) in the one where His sin earned Him death, then there was Jesus, then there was the New Testament (New Covenant) in the other. It was pretty wild. It is like those three crosses were a picture of both the Bible and history. It wouldn't have been the same picture if He had been to the side of both, but is was beautiful with Him between them. I don't know if that makes any sense or not, but it sure affected me. God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post Lloyd! I really liked your insight on the thief that accepted Christ!
Wishing you a very blessed Easter!!
b

The Unknowngnome said...

A very insightful juxtaposition Lloyd. Thank you for helping me see it.

Blessing my friend.

Crystal Mary said...

Your prayer to the unsaved world is mine also. Amen!
Jesus promised the thief..'That day, he would be with Him, in Paradise'..Jesus had to die first. He had to go down into hell and get the keys of Death and Hell before that promise could be fullfilled..how wonderful when we read between the lines of what is said.. when we digest and think about the Word, and gather the gems..God Bless you this Resurrection Sunday.

bibelaventyr said...

Amen! Happy Easter to you :)
check out my blog:)

Kirsten said...

Amen and amen. I am humbled by that thief on the cross every time I read about him. Happy Resurrection Day!

WORLASI said...

Yes indeed, the thief on the cross. The words on the cross together with the two crucified with Jesus has lot to teach us but first I will agree with Kirsten, humility. The fact that Jesus was crucified on the cross with them or the fact that He was crucified at the same place does not give the other thief any chance to throw the challenge to Jesus to same himself and save them as well. The other thief when he humbled himself and accepted his state was assured of a place in the kingdom from that very moment.

God bless you and I pray He continue to use you through this means to reach out to the unreached.

dfish said...

Great post Lloyd.

As you point out, how often those who have been Christian's are distracted by their own expectations rather than simply believing God.

Thanks for your comments on my blog.

Faith said...

I love this story of the thief on the cross next to Jesus. It gives us all hope. Thank you for posting this.