Luke 23:39 – 43 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him; “Aren’t you the Christ? 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, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Even in the midst of his misery, even in the moments before his death, Jesus showed mercy. This criminal who hung beside him deserved to die. Yet, Jesus promised him new life.
I love this story, for it gives me hope. Sometimes I feel like I just don’t measure up. Although I know God doesn’t love me or accept me based on my deeds, I tend to compare myself to what I wish I were. And I fall very short.
But here, Jesus offered hope and mercy and love to a man who had done nothing to deserve it, and who had nothing to give. This man believed that Jesus was who He said He was. He reached out to Jesus. He asked for mercy, and Jesus gave it freely.
I’m glad that I have a lifetime to live as a follower of Christ, instead of a few short breaths as I’m dying. Truly, the sold-out Christian life is the most dynamic life anyone could hope for! Still, I sometimes forget that the hope I have in Christ is free. I don’t have to earn it. This story reminds me.
He loves me because of Who He is, not because of who I am.
Dear Father, Thank You for offering freedom and hope in Christ to any who ask for it, regardless of what we may or may not have done. Thank You for Your unconditional love, with no strings attached.