When Jesus was on the cross, he was surrounded by two thieves. Both were guilty but only one realized it. People who were punished justly were hung next to the One who justifies. The sinless Judge experienced the treatment reserved for the most sinful of transgressors.
Instead of hurling insults, one of the thieves demonstrates humility. He asks Jesus to remember Him upon entering the kingdom. Full of grace and truth, Jesus answers: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
The fact that Jesus promises paradise does not relieve us from our pain. It does not deliver us immediately from something that we are going through, currently. Just like the thief who was still left on the cross – we too are left in this world, full of pain and suffering. It is a promise that is a shadow of things to come. But it is also a promise that we see remnants of, in the here and now.
The thief relied on God’s grace, in the most desperate of situations. This was all he had.
So often, we don’t realize that Jesus is all we need – until Jesus is all we have.
Jesus promises that we will be with Him in paradise. This is not wishful thinking, but rather truth we can trust.
Imagine the circumstances under which this thief trusted Jesus. It was the apex of Jesus’ suffering. The King of the world was on a cross – a display of shame and defeat to the world. And yet to those who love Jesus – this is where our salvation begins – when we believe upon the truth.
So as we go into Good Friday today – we are promised paradise. With this mindset, we can go through calamity with courage. We can experience joy amidst affliction. We entrust ourselves to Jesus who says to us today – you will be with me in paradise.
It is Friday. But Sunday is coming.
Question: How does having an eternal perspective shift the way you handle any life conflict or situation?