A Special Invitation
But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
This criminal had no time to make up for anything he had done. He was crucified next to Jesus and getting ready to die. And Jesus forgave his sins right then and there. Jesus is absolutely for people who have no where else to go, unable to make up for what they’ve done & no opportunity to show their “worth.”
Excruciating pain didn’t change Jesus’ mind about his purpose when he met that criminal. Jesus previously clearly stated his purpose to everyone... The Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost. (Luke 19:10) Not just save. SEEK and save. He sought one more even while he was dying. The last miracle he ever did was seek & save someone in his own last moments.
Since we live in the modern era, we accept this idea of an umbrella of forgiveness as Jesus died for all of our sins once and for all. This is true. But he doesn’t just save. He seeks and saves. He is still inviting everyone into a refreshing relationship with him for whatever amount of time a person has left, for that time grows into eternity. His invitation to find and save me wasn’t part of any impersonal, blanket statement made to faceless people. He personally wants me to be with him where he is.
Jesus is recorded as praying very specifically: I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message... Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. (John 17:20-24)
This is all Jesus. There is nothing I add or bring to the table to receive this. I may as well have no time to show for it like the criminal on the cross next to Jesus. He isn’t asking for any kind of proof of my potential, and he didn’t ask for a resume; he simply asked his Father to bring me to him. I’m fooling myself today if I don’t make spending time with Jesus my priority. I got an education from the thief on the cross. Jesus isn’t only a person’s last resort; he can also be our only!
Thank you for your Son. He made the way for me to have a real relationship with you. He did all the work for such and impossible task. Thank you so much. Thank you for thinking of me, for saving me, for loving me & for inviting me everyday to simply fellowship with you. I love the peace that accompanies your presence and I love you and I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.