READ : Luke 23:39-43
“Today you will be with me in paradise.” (v. 43)
“Today you will be with me in paradise.” Today. Not someday. Not “when the roll is called up yonder.” Today. That’s some promise. What makes the promise even more stunning is the person to whom Jesus is speaking—a thief. What odd company to be in such close proximity to the divine.
This I like about the penitent thief: his gaze is fixed firmly on the future. He is not overwhelmed by the present, trapped in the immediacy of his dilemma. How many people feel locked into their present situation, trapped in a painful now, and see no way out of it.
The penitent thief has his eyes fixed on the future. He has the audacity to claim a future for himself, to see through what is, and to claim what is to come: “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And what the thief has the imagination to ask for, Jesus has the power to grant: “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
The penitent thief is the patron saint of all those who wonder whether things are too far gone for God to intervene. Things are never too far gone. Things are never as hopeless as they seem. If a dying convict can still envision a redemptive future, so can you!
Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.