One of the criminals who were hanged railed at Him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And He said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:39–43
Every time you see a person with a cigarette held to his lips, you can be assured of one thing: he has ignored a clear warning that smoking cigarettes can kill you.
Cigarettes aren’t the only thing that will kill you. The truth is, if you don’t smoke, you will still die. Every day carries with it this warning label: “You will die.” It’s a guarantee (unless you are alive when Jesus returns!) For some, however, death is looming just moments ahead.
As Jesus was dying on the cross, two other men, both criminals, were dying with Him. One was unrepentant, slandering and blaspheming Jesus until the very end. The other criminal, however, responded very differently. He acknowledged his own guilt: “We are receiving the due reward of our deeds.” He recognized Jesus’ innocence: “This Man has done nothing wrong.” Most importantly, he asked Jesus to save him: “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
And the Lord Jesus responded: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” What a wonderful promise! Though the repentant thief still suffered all the pain of death, he lived his remaining moments with Jesus’ assurance that the instant he died, he would be with Jesus in paradise.
Which thief do you identify with? Every person reading this is exactly like one of those two thieves crucified on either side of Jesus. We are dying. We are facing eternity. Whether we go to Heaven or Hell depends on one thing alone: what have we done with Jesus?
Which side of the cross are you on: the lost side or the saved side? The doubting side or the trusting side? The hell-bent side or the heaven-bound side?
Have a great day and Keep Moving Forward!