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"And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom," (Luke 23:42 KJV).
The thief didn't have a prayer to stand on. He had no power, no redeeming goodness, and no time to fix anything. Blackness was closing in. Eternal loss was waiting, just beyond the thin line that separates all men from eternity. Hanging on a cross, disjointed in his torment, the thief had nothing—but God provided the One thing needful. The man had Jesus. He had the Son of God hanging on a Roman cross beside him— this Jesus upon whose every word hung his faltering hope.
The thief's faith was weak, barely perceptible. This one who had just minutes before joined his fellow criminal in mocking Jesus now seemed too ashamed to ask Jesus to save his soul. He only asked, "Lord, remember me when you enter into your kingdom." Those once thieving hands were now stretched out in full surrender; whether they be blessed or whether they be damned was up to God.
Then something happened. Amid the the cruel fate that lay before him, the thief began to realize he was strangely blessed. He had Jesus! There, nailed to a cross beside him was the Son of God!
The thief began to feel the convicting power of Christ crucified, "…the just for the unjust," (1 Peter 3:18 KJV) and his heart began to turn. Suddenly he found he could trust in the power of Jesus who revealed God is gracious, God is merciful, and God is kind. For the first time he was able to feel the power of God's love turn his heart to Christ.
But was God powerful enough to forgive his sins? The thief was about to find out. "Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom," was his only plea. And there, beneath a blood-stained crown of thorns, Jesus spoke these words to his inmost heart, "Verily I say unto thee; today shalt thou be with me in paradise," (Luke 23:43 KJV).
by Toni Babcock
Minnesota, USA - firstname.lastname@example.org
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