Luke 23:43: “And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.'”

December 3rd, 2018 by Pastor Ed in devotional

Centuries earlier, God had spoken through the prophet Isaiah that the coming Messiah would be “numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12). Here we see that ancient prophecy fulfilled as Jesus was crucified between 2 thieves. And one of the thieves, as he carefully watched the way Jesus conducted Himself, was convicted of his own sin. His pain-filled fog lifted, and it hit him that he was witnessing something not of this world. Instead of curses flowing from the lips of Jesus, as the soldiers hammered in the nails, there was a prayer of forgiveness for His tormentors. When the other thief began to mock Jesus, this thief told him to be quiet because while they were being justly executed, Jesus had done nothing to deserve crucifixion. That honest observation became the beginning of this man’s repentance.

The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and no human is beyond redemption when there still remains a fear of God in him or her. Faith rose in this man’s heart, and he blurted out his request: “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (vs. 42). Jesus responded, “today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

This must be one of the most comforting phrases ever heard by a human being. As believers, it is so encouraging to us that this thief could do nothing for himself except ask Jesus for help. He couldn’t lift a hand or foot to bring about his own salvation; he could perform absolutely no good works. Jesus offered him the gift of God’s grace, and he took it. Countless people down through the last almost 2000 years, have read this story and also been moved to ask Jesus for forgiveness. It should move us every time we read it to simply ask again for His grace to cover us.

“LORD, please forgive and use us this day.”