“Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
What a deeply moving moment. Amidst a crowd watching on, with religious rulers sneering, soldiers mocking and a criminal railing, we are brought into the intimate conversation of two men caught in the final moments of life as they hung on a barbaric cross. Yet, here we are caught up in this profound cosmic moment, where in a desperate plea of a criminal we see the passion of the saviour opening up paradise.
For in this simple plea of wanting to be remembered, the Criminal sees Jesus as someone different. He accepts the claim that Jesus is King, the innocent one taking his place among the unrighteous to bring people into his kingdom beyond death. Feel the solemnity, passion and hope of his reply, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Paradise is opened up in this moment to someone who didn’t deserve it … God’s Garden of the new creation.
Will you be like the sneering crowds of our world, so curved in on itself that it cannot see the saviour or the like the desperate confessing criminal and be so bold to ask for something so significant of the King, to be wrapped up in his Kingdom and given entry into paradise.
Dear God thankyou that your love sent Jesus to endure things he didn’t deserve to endure. Thank you that your love sent Jesus so we can enjoy things we don’t deserve to enjoy.
Paul Dudley is the assistant minister of St Thomas Anglican Church in North Sydney and part-time Mission Mentor at Arndell Anglican College.