During the Lenten season, staff and church leaders will share a daily devotional. Please join us on the journey.
There were also two criminals led out with Jesus to be put to death. One of the criminals on a cross began to shout insults at Jesus: “Aren’t you the Christ? Then save yourself and us.”
But the other criminal stopped him and said. “You should fear God! You are getting the same punishment He is. We are punished justly, getting what we deserve for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus said to him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
The one criminal defended Jesus. The other criminal and the soldiers mocked Him. His disciples had run away on the clean feet that Jesus had washed earlier. Pilate had washed his hands of Jesus. Where were all the people Jesus had healed? Many could have spoken for Jesus, but none did except for the one criminal on a cross.
Because of the thief’s belief that Jesus was who He said He was, Jesus gave him the greatest gift there is–a life in Paradise. How could this wicked criminal be saved? He didn’t keep the law; he wasn’t good. He was an unclean sinner. You know what he did. He asked! He believed that Jesus was who He said He was. Ask Jesus to remember you.
This passage means so much to me, because though this man, a sinner, never took a casserole to Wednesday night dinner, or went to church, or taught Sunday School, he was forgiven by Jesus for his many sins. This gives me hope because my sins and your sins are many also–sins of commission and omission. Take heart, because this one passage sums up the way to salvation. Believe, trust, and if given more time than the thief on the cross, obey His commands as best you can.
Romans 10:9-10 For if you tell others with your own mouth Jesus Christ is your Lord, and believe in your own heart God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in his heart that a man becomes right with God; and with his mouth he tells others of his faith, confirming his salvation.
Thank you Heavenly Father for your mercy, forgiveness, and unlimited love. Thank you for these holy words, and I pray we take them to heart and live with you in Paradise for all eternity. In Jesus’ holy name I ask. Amen