Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”Luke 23:42-43 NIV
Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Much has been written about this thief crucified with Jesus. A thief who seemingly repented on the cross. He was not baptized. He did not say the sinner’s prayer, at least as far as we know. But Jesus knew his heart and welcomed him into his kingdom.
But what I find most significant in this passage has little to do with the thief himself or his conversion. Instead, it is in what Jesus said to him. Today, you will be with me in paradise. I don’t claim to understand just what Paradise is, although I certainly have thoughts about it. But what is important to me here is that it is where Jesus is. And that we do not have to wait to be there with him.
When this thief died, he was with Jesus. I attended a memorial service yesterday for a man I knew. A man who had faithfully followed Jesus for many years. And I have confidence that when he died, he came immediately into Jesus’ presence. And I am confident that when my journey in this life comes to an end, I will join him there, along with all the others who have gone before. With Jesus in Paradise. Something to look forward to!