Luke 23:39-43 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Every day on Facebook, I note people expressing thanks to everyone who remembered to extend birthday wishes to them. There is something wonderful in being remembered, for it reminds people of their value and worth.
On the cross at Calvary, Jesus was placed between two criminals. One of the criminals, although guilty, thought, like so many arrogant and haughty people today, that he was entitled to be saved, and hurled insults when Jesus refused to save the three of them. The other criminal feared God.
He confessed his sins and acknowledged that Jesus was innocent. Obviously, he knew of a coming Savior who would die for the sins of the world, be resurrected, and ascend to God. He made a heartfelt plea, stating, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He knew he was going to die. But he also knew that because death was not the end of his story, he had one chance for redemption and deliverance from the Savior who was speaking words of forgiveness for those crucifying Him, and he wisely and humbly took it.
Jesus answered him with the promise that he would join him in paradise. Despite his sins, Jesus answered in a way that revealed that he was forgiven and loved. Assured of everlasting life, I believe that repentant criminal felt such joy that death didn’t scare him anymore. Instead, he looked forward to going home to God.
This story reminds us that we, too, can confess our sins and ask to be remembered. Jesus still hears our cries, for He is the only mediator between the Lord God and us. Some days when the world seems too hard and life’s pain appears to overwhelm me, I hear myself pleading for help, “Jesus, remember me.” He has never failed to answer, and oh, the joy that floods my soul.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for remembering me on days when I feel completely unable to survive in this world. I can feel your Presence, and I know my Redeemer lives. Lord Jesus, you are still the mediator between God and humankind, and I thank you that even in our sins, your unfailing love is still available to all who call on your Name for help, deliverance, salvation, and forgiveness. In Jesus’s Name, I Pray. Amen.