“Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
How can a man hanging bleeding to death say such words to another man hanging from his cross waiting to die? Because the One who uttered these words was God in the flesh.
Christ had given darkness its hour so that He might lay down His life for those who were dead in sin, who were outside the paradise of God and had no hope of entering by their own merit. All men should see themselves in this thief upon the cross, for he himself said, “We indeed suffer justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”
We suffer justly, and we deserve wrath for our deeds; but the One who has done nothing wrong, who knew no sin, took our sin. Our sin and its penalty were laid upon Him. The Ancient of days knew the greatness of redeeming work. He knew death and sin were to be defeated by His sinless sacrifice and resurrection. The King of kings and Lord of lords had full authority to bring into His kingdom, His paradise, those He had delivered.
So with full authority, mercy, and loving forgiveness Jesus said to him who knew he deserved judgment but cried in penitent faith, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!,” “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
Though this man died, he will be spared the second death, the one that lasts for eternity. Never have so few words been answered so gloriously, “Remember me Jesus when You enter Your kingdom!” than to be ushered into Paradise by the Lord. Beloved, with full assurance the Lord has declared to all those who have put their faith in Christ, whose names are written in the book of life, they too will enter His kingdom and dwell with Him always. To God be the glory, great things He has done.
In Christ alone.
Scripture quotation taken from the NASB. www.lockman.org