The Second Word — “Today You Will Be With Me In Paradise”
When we hear the word “paradise” we probably picture a sandy beach, clear blue skies, and palm trees waving in a warm tropical breeze. Or perhaps we picture hiking in the woods on a magnificent fall day with colors ablaze all around us. Paradise is the perfect spot, the beautiful moment where everything seems good and right in our world. It’s the feeling of being unburdened by the worries and cares of life. It’s a place of peace and serenity where we feel safe and secure.
When Jesus promised the repentant thief “Today you will be with me in Paradise,” he was offering him more than an idyllic vacation. Jesus gave him the gift of eternal life while this man was facing imminent death. No matter what bad decisions this man made, no matter how many wrong turns he had taken, Jesus was offering him the chance for a new beginning. Granted, this man was still going to die this day. However, he would not be lost to God; nor would he be lost to Jesus.
As we reflect on the significance of the Second Word from the cross, we are reminded that it’s never too late to turn our lives around. It’s never too late to ask forgiveness, to mend a broken relationship, to start again. The Paradise Jesus offers us is for both sides of eternity. In the here and now, we are reminded that Jesus is our Good Shepherd who seeks us out when we are lost. In our life beyond the grave, we are promised that this same Good Shepherd will lead us to the green pastures and still waters of God’s heavenly kingdom.
So, friends in Christ, let us turn to Jesus in our darkest moment, in our most desperate hour, and receive the gift of Paradise: forgiveness, salvation and eternal life.
Loving Savior, You promised paradise to the repentant thief. Help us to remember that your kingdom awaits those who trust in your saving grace. Help us to walk closely with you always. We ask this in your name. Amen.
Copyright ©2017 by David Eck