Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." Luke 23:43
Have you noticed that Jesus spent most of his teaching ministry with people who were oppressed in their society? He was busy feeding the hungry, healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, proclaiming freedom for prisoners, eating with prostitutes and other outcasts. In these and other ways he equipped his followers for reaching people in need.
This is the fulfillment of God's covenant that we focused on earlier. Israel went into exile because of its failure to keep God's covenant, especially in terms of caring for the poor and needy. After sending many messengers to remind his people of their responsibility, God finally sent them into exile for their sin.
But God preserved a remnant of them and eventually restored them to their land. And from that remnant came the promised deliverer, the Savior who would perfectly keep God's covenant, doing right in all things and caring for all who suffered and were oppressed.
Even while taking his last breaths on the cross, Jesus came to the aid of a death-row criminal. The man asked Jesus to remember him, and in that moment Jesus saved him and guaranteed him a place in heaven that day.
Today Jesus calls us to share in his work by remembering people in need: the sick, orphans, the hungry, those in prison. It's the reason the church exists.
Thank you, Jesus, for the perfect example you've shown in helping others. Thank you for dying for our sin of not caring for your brothers and sisters. In your name, Amen.
See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!