Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
The thief on the cross next to Jesus heard his cries asking for the forgiveness of those who were nailing him.
He knew that there was something different about the man who hung next to him. We don’t know the turning point, but the thief says to him, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
That word “kingdom” is key. The thief and certifiably “bad guy” recognized that the man who was bruised and beaten and hanging on a wooden cross was the King.
He put his faith in this unlikely ruler.
And Jesus accepts this convicted criminal in an instant. Jesus gives up his right to social correctness. He lets go of any notion of what is socially acceptable or considered morally upright.
The thief put his faith in Jesus. And Jesus exchanged the thief’s filthy rags with robes of righteousness. No transaction fee charged. No questions asked.
Bringing It Home
Am I holding on to some obnoxious sense of what is “socially acceptable” to God? Do I subconsciously write off some people as “beyond redemption”? What can I do to truly grasp that salvation is a free gift for ALL who believe?
Heavenly Father, Thank you for the reassuring words of Jesus to the thief. They weren’t just empty placebos. Jesus sealed the promise he made with his blood. Thank you that he let go of the sense of social correctness in order to display his grace. Help me to do the same. Amen
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