There’s an account in the Bible that kind of haunts me. It’s so sad, but so beautiful, and gives us a look at Jesus’s heart and his unexplainable, all-encompassing love.
“Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with [Jesus]…One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, ‘So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself- and us too, while you’re at it!’
But the other criminal protested, ‘Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.’
And Jesus replied, ‘I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.'”
(Luke 34-43 NLT)
This shows us the heart of Jesus. His love is for everyone. Everyone. But it must be accepted. This story haunts me because it shows how two people can see the exact same thing, witness Jesus right before their very eyes, one recognizes the truth in it, and the other mocks it. These men were both criminals and were both sentenced to the worst death, so we assume their crimes were quite serious. One man hangs onto his scepticism and arrogance to the very end, the other humbled himself in his final moments, and is then welcomed with open arms into the kingdom. I can’t help but wonder how many times I was the one mocking Jesus, the one who was refusing to see what was right in front of me. I imagine a lot, considering I was a snotty know-it-all before. (I’m still working on the snotty part, but at least now I can readily admit that I don’t know it all.)
The most comforting part of this awful account is found in the man who reached out to Jesus. Jesus did not rescue this man from his circumstances, he did not take him down from the cross, the man who accepted him still died a horrible death. But he now had something that he didn’t have before; hope.
There’s so many amazing points to this account. No one is too far gone, no matter what we may have done. Everyone has until their last breath to make their choice. Jesus’s love and acceptance is for everyone. Probably much more than that, but I find my brain quite scattered at the moment.
There’s a great song about this from the point of view of the man saved on the cross. If you’re feeling reflective, it’s a really good one, very powerful.
Third Day- Thief
Today is Maundy Thursday, the day of remembrance of the last supper and when Jesus was betrayed, setting into motion all of the events for Good Friday and, of course, Easter. What a special time to reflect.