“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Picture it: a convicted felon, admitting that he is being justly punished, asking in his dying moments to be remembered by God’s Son! A violent robber, nailed to a cross, gasping for air, asking for some kind of reward!
Something about Jesus made an impact on this condemned man. We sometimes hear of “death-bed conversions,” but this was a “cross conversion”! Maybe the man feared meeting God unprepared. After all, the question he put to the criminal on the other side of Jesus was “Don’t you fear God?” Or maybe he was struck by Jesus’ plea asking God to forgive.
Whatever brought the change within his heart, the former robber turned to Jesus and said, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He didn’t say, “You owe me.” He didn’t say, “I deserve …” Instead he pleaded for mercy: “Remember me.”
And Jesus responded with a mind-boggling promise: “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
God’s grace is free to save sinners who offer nothing but their need for mercy. That’s all the criminal had to offer. But that’s all he needed to offer.
That’s all we need to offer as well.
Gracious God, remember me. In your mercy, grant me the gift of eternal life today, tomorrow, and forever, when Jesus returns to make all things new! Amen.
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