“And He said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43
Each of us is terminal - all of us share two common realities - We're all sinners. Not a single person can claim to be perfect. Every man, every woman, every boy and every girl - we're all sinners.
The second reality common to us all is that death is a reality for each must die. "The wages of sin is death" the Bible tells us. Each of us will face our end. When we close our eyes to death then we will meet our maker. Then what? This thief in calling out to Jesus reveals the recognition of his own guilt. He comes to the realization that he is a sinner. He comes to his senses and realizes his own mortality. In calling out to Jesus, he realizes that his sins have condemned him! All he can request is that Jesus remember him. "Lord, remember me when you enter into Your kingdom!"
Jesus' reaction reveals the nature of His work. He came to seek and to save that which is lost. He went to the bloody cross to offer us Himself as a sacrifice for sin. In Jesus Christ all sin is forgiven - period! In speaking to this thief he shows him the reward of all who call upon the name of the Lord - they shall be saved! Christ's reaction shows us the place of the dead believer. We shall be with Christ eternally! Mark the Savior's words. Today you will be with Me in paradise. Death defined by the Christian is the separation of the soul from the body. Death to the Christian is our entrance into glory. Every day is a gift. Every day is an opportunity to do good, to make a difference, to dream big and to act. In Jesus Christ our destiny is secure - make good use of the present as you anticipate eternity.
Lord, accept our prayers and worship and have mercy on us. For us sinners, now and at all times, and at the hour of our death, for by Your death, death was abolished; have mercy upon us and grant us Your peace.
Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS