Each of the seven sayings from the Cross gives us a glimpse into the nature of Jesus Christ. In the second saying, when Jesus, tells the malefactor (criminal) who had acknowledged and addressed Jesus as Lord and King (Luke 23:42), that he will be with Jesus in paradise that day, we see Jesus Christ – the Assurer of his presence in paradise.
The prophet Isaiah had prophesied of the assuring Christ centuries earlier, when he recorded that Jesus would be numbered with the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12). On the Cross, we see condemned like the other malefactors (Luke 23:39-40), this prophetic saying comes true.
Points to ponder:
Amidst this condemnation that Christ suffered, as a criminal, though he had committed no crime, Jesus speaks words of eternal life (John 6:68), words of assurance – a blessed assurance, that the one who is condemned in the eyes of man is not condemned in the eyes of God, because he who had recognized Jesus a good man, having done nothing wrong (Luke 23:41), realized and recognized that Jesus the good man was indeed God-man and that Jesus was Lord and King, who will come again in his kingdom (Luke 23:42). The criminal’s request was to be remembered for he said “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom”, but Christ Jesus responded in a manner of speaking, that there would be no need for remembrance, because that criminal was going to be with Christ that very day.
Notice how, Jesus did not condemn or remind him of the criminal’s sinful past, which by earthly standards deserved excruciating death. Instead, Jesus focused on the criminal’s saintly future – a future with Christ himself. This gives hope – hope to the vilest of sinners (of whom I am chief) and does not preclude anyone out of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. The criminal died that day, yet he lived for whoever believes in Jesus, though he shall die, yet shall he live (John 11:25-26).
Also note, how the criminal’s request talks about “Jesus’ kingdom” not the kingdom of man. Jesus taught his disciples to pray for God’s kingdom to come on earth. Yet many a times, we in our human fallibilities and carnal desires seek to establish our own kingdoms. Like the criminal, we must ask for God’s kingdom to come and not our own. His will, not our will be done.
And to all, who like the criminal, recognize Jesus, not solely as a good man, but as God-man, the only man in whom the fullness of God dwells (Colossians 1:19), as the Lord and as a King whose kingdom will come, Jesus is the assuring Christ with whom we shall all be, in paradise.
Is Jesus The Assuring Christ to you? In other words, have you believed in him and accepted him as Lord and King of your life?
Luke 23:39-43 (KJV)
39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Isaiah 53:12 (KJV)
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
John 11:25-26 (KJV)
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?