“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43
 
Today we are looking at some of the most hopeful words in the Bible! This second saying of Jesus on the cross was directed at one of the two thieves who were being crucified alongside Him.

Varanasi burial funeral pyre

Bodies are cremated on funeral pyres along the Ganges River in the hope of reaching paradise

There is quite a contrast in the attitudes of the two thieves. One joined with the many bystanders in hurling abuse at Jesus as He hung on the cross. The words of the other, however, help us to understand the sincerity of his repentance that day - he recognises a few important facts about sin and salvation and, most importantly, about who Jesus is.

He recognises a future life where God avenges sin - “do you not even fear God?”

He recognises his own sinfulness - “we are punished justly, for we are receiving what our actions deserve”.

He recognises Christ’s sinlessness – “this man has done nothing wrong”.

He recognises Christ’s deity and ability to save – “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom”.
 
This dying man couldn’t work or contribute towards his salvation; he couldn’t turn over a new leaf and resolve to live a better life. He was limited in the sense that he couldn’t move his hands or feet, but he still had use of two vital organs essential to salvation… his heart and his tongue. “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Romans 10:10
 
What amazing hope is offered to this dying man in the words of Jesus’ response: “Today you will be with me in paradise”.
 
Please pray for the billions in Asia who are lost and dying without hope, and remember our ministry partners across the continent as they spread the message of Jesus, our Living Hope.

More Easter 2019 devotions