One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” - Luke 23:39-43
Dear Jesus, in your three-year ministry you said, "The first will be last and the last will be first." What deep spiritual joy it must have given you during your greatest moment of darkness to announce grace and heaven to the man dying next to you. He was the last whom we would expect to receive your promise and you made him the first to receive heaven through the cross! I think to myself, "If there is room for him, there is room for me." (Pause for reflection.) It is ironic that one dying man would give another dying man eternal life. Help me to live in the same irony; to give life eternal to others who are dying while I myself am on the same dying road. Free me from my addiction to create a heaven on earth that I cannot keep in order to grasp the heaven in glory that cannot be lost. These two things I ask; help me make life on earth better for others and help me give them the better life in heaven by introducing them to you. AMEN
Jesus gives us two great blessings: 1) The secrets to happiness in a broken world and 2) the secret passage to a world that cannot be broken.
Additional Readings: John 14:1-6, John 18:28-31