Cross Verbs – Calling to Action :: 2nd saying from the Cross


This is the 2nd post of the series, Cross Verbs >> Calling to Action, which is a look at the 7 sayings of Jesus Christ from the Cross, with an “action” perspective, for faith without action is dead (James 2:17). What is of note is that each saying has a verb in it, implying an action of Jesus Christ, the Lord, and what’s more, is that his action calls for our action.

Saying Two: Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
The Cross verbs today is “say” and “be with”.

He “said” words of assurance to a sinner who recognized him as Lord and King, so that we can say “true words of assurance” pointing others to where Jesus is, which is paradise.
He assured the sinner who recognized him as Lord and King of “being with” him in his presence, so that we as sinner who recognize Jesus as Lord and King, can also be assured access into God’s presence, so that we can “be with” him, as well.

Points to ponder:
Jesus has the words of eternal life (John 6:68) and he has commanded us to go and teach (say to) all nations, of his blessed assurance. Are you with him, and are his words of eternal life, in you (John 15:7)? Are you abiding in him for without him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).
The Cross verbs “said” and “be with” calls us to action – to say of his sacrifice (Saviorship) and Sovereignty, so that all who believe in him, as Savior and Lord, can be with him, as he most assuredly promised.

Prayer:Let your words remain in me, I pray; and these words of eternal life, let me say – say to all who are not with you, so that they may be with you!

Luke 23:43 (KJV)
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise


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.)

The CROSS Examination :: Place of Surety


The CROSS on which Jesus Christ was nailed is the place of divine surety. God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were still sinners, Christ [Jesus] died for us (Romans 5:8-9). John 19:31-37 is not only a fulfillment of the prophecy of God’s salvation but it also establishes the fact that Jesus died for us on the Cross. In other words, the Cross is the commendation of God’s love toward us.

We can be sure of this, that God’s love so binding that nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from it. Neither death nor, life (Physical aspects), nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers (Spiritual aspects), nor things present, nor things to come (Temporal aspects), nor height, nor depth (Spatial aspects), nor any other creation (all other aspects of creation) can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39).

Jesus told the penitent malefactor from his own Cross, “Verily, verify, I say unto you. Today, thou shalt be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43).  In other words, Jesus was affirming the truth and its surety, that the penitent sinner, who recognized Jesus as Lord (Luke 23:42), which we get from the way he changes his address of Jesus, was guaranteed his salvation, from the Cross on which Jesus died.

Let us cross examine ourselves and make sure that we have recognized Jesus as Lord as well. For all who are in Christ Jesus, walking after the Spirit of God (and not after our own flesh), can be sure of His Salvation (Romans 8:1). There is only love (inseparable God’s love) commended from the Cross. There is no condemnation that comes from it (Romans 8:1).

Romans 5:8-9 (KJV)
8
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

Romans 8:38-39 (KJV)
38
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Verily, I Say Unto Thee, Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise


Even cursorily evaluating this statement the second saying of Christ Jesus as He hung on the Cross, living up to His Name, which was to save His people from their sins, we see PROFOUND TRUTHS hidden in it. Delving deeper accentuates these subheadings so much further that it is simply baffling to the human mind, the depth of meaning that each word (carefully chosen) in this SECOND SAYING of Christ Jesus – Verily, I say unto thee, thou shalt be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43). Deeper analysis uncovers the hidden treasures in this expression of Christ Jesus.

VERILY (the SAYING was a PROMISE)

We see the usage of the word ‘Verily’, to mean PROMISORILY, MOST ASSUREDLY, TRULY and in simple terms to mean that IT CANT BE OTHERWISE! The term ‘Verily’ is used ONLY in the second saying on the cross, but it mentioned many times in the Gospels to express ABSOLUTE TRUTHS. Matthew records it 24 Times, Mark 12 Times, Luke 6 Times and John 24 Times.  By using the term ‘Verily’, Jesus was CLARIFYING ALL DOUBTS and questions in the mind of the criminal as well as all those who heard him, that what he had once said before was INDEED true and that is JESUS IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH and THE LIFE and no Man cometh unto the Father but by him. There is NO OTHER WAY or MEANS to SALVATION and this was a PROMISE – Verily / Truly / It cant be Otherwise

I SAY UNTO YOU (the ADDRESS was PERSONAL)
Replace the word ‘YOU’ with your Name and you will still hear Jesus unto you the same He said to the penitent malefactor on the Cross. Jesus is a Personal God and He is interested in your personal life and mine and He is making this a personal statement to and for you.          

TODAY (the element of TIME was the PRESENT)

Jesus said ‘Today’ meaning that the DAY of SALVATION for the criminal was not any other time, but THE PRESENT. You don’t have to WAIT for another time to be believe in the Name of Jesus and be saved. I plead,  DON’T PROCRASTINATE or TARRY. The Scripture records that Now (the PRESENT) is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2). Now is the appointed time for us, the creation to meet the Creator God, Jesus as a Savior.

SHALT THOU BE WITH ME (Man’s PRESENCE with GOD)
“Shalt thou be with me”, indicates the PRESENCE of God WITH Man. It is the PRESENCE, NOT PROXIMITY. God is NOT Only NEAR you in your situations of life, God is WITH you in your situation. In the fiery trials that the three Hebrew boys, Hanniah, Mishael and Azariah faced, Jesus Christ, the Son of God was in the fire with them as expressed by a pagan king.  God became Immanuel, meaning God is present with us, in the person of Jesus, so that Man could be  present with God and Jesus affirms this.

IN PARADISE (the DESTINATION is PARADISE)
Ever wonder why Jesus did not use the word ‘Heaven’ but instead said paradise. The history of the word paradise is an extreme example of amelioration, the process by which a word comes to refer to something better than what it used to refer to. The old Iranian language Avestan had a noun pairidaēza-, meaning “a wall enclosing a garden or orchard,” which is composed of pairi-, “around,” and daēza- “wall.” The adverb and preposition pairi is related to the equivalent Greek form peri, as in perimeter. Daēza- comes from the Indo-European root *dheigh-, “to mold, form, shape.” This Greek word paradeisos was used in the Septuagint translation of Genesis to refer to the Garden of Eden, whence Old English eventually borrowed it around 1200.

Honestly, I don’t know if Paradise is a geographical location synonymous with ‘Heaven’ when God’s throne is, or if it is metaphorical as in the saying that God lives in the praises of men and /or if it is physical with a longitudinal and/or latitudinal construct. I dont know. But what surfaces is that if the root of the word paradise was pairidaēza meaning “a wall enclosing a garden” it reminds me of the garden of Eden where man communed with God was shut from man by a wall of a flaming sword and angel so that man could not access the tree of life (Genesis 3:24). Man could not have access to the garden where God came down in the cool of the evening to be with his creation. Now with the final and finishing act of God’s redemptive work, demonstrated by Jesus being crucified in the stead of man, we see that the perimeter wall that precluded man from reaching God (and access to THE TREE OF LIFE i.e., Jesus) in the garden is now removed and the garden (paradise) is accessible to man as expressed by Jesus when he said, Verily, I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in Paradise. The garden that was shut is now open. Furthermore, irrespective of where paradise is physically, I believe that when Jesus is WITH me and you, anyplace is Paradise.

VERILY indicates that this saying was a PROMISE
I SAY UNTO YOU
– indicates that the address was PERSONAL
TODAY
indicates that the element of time was the PRESENT
SHALT THOU BE WITH ME
indicates Man’s PRESENCE with GOD
IN PARADISE
indicates the destination is PARADISE