The Assuring Christ :: Today shalt thou be with me in paradise

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?

She saw, she took, she gave … so must we

Genesis 3 records the account of the fall of man from the glory of God, for Adam and Eve, willfully sinned by eating of the tree of knowledge of good and of evil, which God has specifically commanded them not to. The Bible states that when Satan, the serpent, beguiled Eve, and when she saw the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and desirable for gaining wisdom, she took and ate it and gave it to her husband who was with her and he ate it as well. Through this act of seeing, taking, and giving, man (and woman) disobeyed God and brought death into the world (1 Corinthians 15:21).

The Bible counsels us to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8) and that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). When we see the God of the world manifested fully in his Son Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:9), through his inspiration (2 Timothy 3:16) and his Word (John 1:1), do we desire him and take him and commune (eat) with him (Revelation 3:20). Jesus said that we must remember his death and resurrection, in communion (1 Corinthians 11:24), but we must not just stop there. We must give (share) him with the others who dont know him, so that they may have life – life abundant (John 10:10) and eternal (John 3:16).

Points to ponder:
She saw, she took, she gave … and death came into the world.
Do we see, take and give … the Light of the world (John 8:12) to those who are dying?

Revelation 3:20 (KJV)
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Psalm 34:8 (KJV)
O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

The Name is Image of the invisible God

Even though identical twins resemble one another, they are distinct in their genetic makeup and fingerprints. There is not a single person in the world who is the same as you are. The only way you can find an exact representation of yourself is to look at your reflected image in a mirror.

The writer to the Hebrews affirms that the Person (essence) of God is expressed in Jesus (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus Himself said that whoever has seen Him has seen the Father (John 14:9). This only accentuates the fact that Jesus is God, the one and Only God.

Jesus is the expressed fullness of God (Colossians 1:19). The Apostle Paul writes to those in Colosse that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. Apostle Paul was eloquently saying that if God was to look into a mirror, He would see Jesus.

We are expected to become perfect and attain the full measure of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). In other words, we are to reflect the essence of Jesus in our lives. So the question is whether we are a mirror image of Jesus to those who are seeking to see God? And more importantly,  if Jesus was to look into a mirror, would He see you, would He see me?

Colossians 1:15 (KJV)
15 Who (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Ephesians 4:11-13 (KJV)
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: