Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Luke 23:42
Maybe you've heard about last-minute, death-row conversions in prisons. In some ways they're like the one in our reading for today. But whether or not a person is on death row, prison time never leaves a person unaffected spiritually. In prisons today, we find people who are either hardened in rebellion against God or ready to soak up his love like a sponge.
This happens, in fact, with respect to all types of suffering. You either become hardened against the God "who let this happen to you," or you become softened and ultimately surrender to the sovereign Lord.
One of the criminals who died along with Jesus had become hardened against God. He didn't believe Christ could do him any good, so he hurled insults at him. But the other criminal said, "Don't you fear God ... ? We are punished justly ... But this man has done nothing wrong." He packed more theology into those words than he might have known, but it was true: Jesus is God. We deserve to be punished. He, the perfect man, didn't.
This was no "jailhouse religion." The criminal confessed his sin and turned to the only One who could help him. He prayed humbly, "Jesus, remember me."
No one is beyond the reach of God's grace. Not a death-row killer. Not you or me. In fact, none of us has a thing to bring to the salvation table but this prayer.
Lord Jesus, "remember me." Take me through whatever challenges I have to face, and draw me closer to you. You are my only comfort in life and in death. In your name, Amen.
See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!