The mystery of salvation is never more astounding than this moment.
A few feet away from Jesus another man languished under the brutal hand of the Romans.
Just another man whose life would seemingly melt into the thin pages of history…
This was his day to die and be forgotten. And then He spoke these words”
“Remember me when you enter into your kingdom.”
One sentence… a declaration, a cry into the bleak chasm of unworthiness.
This convicted rebel could do nothing.
He couldn’t earn his way into right standing.
He couldn’t grow into righteousness and worthiness of grace
His time was up.
He had no hands for service.
No feet for walking
Few words left to say in this brief and consequential day
It was almost like a shot in the dark, a wing and a prayer, a last desperate plea to the mercy of a Messiah
Jesus replied to this unnamed vagabond.
“I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
There’s never been a more outrageous last minute, death’s door, Hail Mary conversion that this.
And today you will be with me in paradise.
Paradise- such perfect word.
It’s a reference to the Garden of Eden before the fall.
Before hiding, shame, war, and death…
Eden, when all was right with the world and Jesus said, today everything will be made right with you.
The same is truth for all of us. The second declaration on the cross reminds us that it’s not about our nice tidy lives and good living that will usher us into the second Eden when he makes all things new.
It has nothing to do with us.
It’s not about the perfection of the man. It’s about the man of perfection. It’s not about one’s glory. It’s about the glory of one. It not about the greatness of your labor. It’s about the labor of his greatness. The gospel isn’t about your story. His story is the gospel. And that’s why they call it GOOD news
And one we’ll see the one who got there first, the one who walked, arm in arm, with Jesus into grand opening of the Father’s house. Because of the words that brought the ugly edifice of self-attained righteousness and works based acceptance crumbing down.
Today you will be with Me in paradise.