Jesus’ second saying from the Cross, to the penitent sinner was “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Deeper inspection of this saying reveals certain hidden treasures in this saying.
This was a true statement of assurance to a dying man from a dying Man. Before Jesus’ crucifixion, He went about in his ministry by preaching “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand [near].” (Matthew 3:2; 4:17) But now on the Cross, as one of the malefactors, who was crucified along side Christ Jesus, recognized the Innocence (Lamb), divinity (Lord), and Kingship (Lion) of Jesus Christ, Jesus assured him that on that very day (Today), he would be with Jesus Christ in paradise. The malefactor recognized Jesus to be the King that shall come and requested that he be remembered upon the return of The King. To this, Jesus replied by saying “Today, you shall be with me in paradise”. In other words, Jesus was asserting that the Kingdom of heaven was no longer at hand, but had come into fruition, with the completion of his work of Salvation, on the Cross. From that day onwards, man who was banished from having a direct communion with God in the paradisiacal garden (of Eden), could now have access to the throne of God and Christ Jesus. “Today” was not only the day of salvation for the repenting malefactor on the cross, but it was the appointed (accepted) time of the Lord for the salvation of all who believe in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 6:2) as the slain and worthy Lamb of God (Revelation 5) and as the Lord and King (just as the malefactor did) .
Points to ponder:
If Christ was to return today as the King in His kingdom, would he remember you and me? Can He tell of you and me, “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise”?
Have you recognized Jesus Christ as THE Lamb, THE Lord and THE Lion (King)? If so, you can be assured of being part of His kingdom, when He returns. He has assured us of this by His true saying – “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
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 [INNOCENCE].
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord [DIVINITY], remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom [KINGSHIP].
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
2 Corinthians 6:2 (KJV)
2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)