"And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43)
In A. M. NOTES this day, we are reminded of our loving and kind Savior, suffering on the cross, to save us from the penalty of our sin.
In v. 33, the scripture casually mentions that Christ is crucified. "And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him,..."
Crucifixion is the cruelest form of capital punishment. It is an ancient execution, but the Romans had perfected it!
1) They would beat the malefactor, mercilessly. This stripped their victim of all their self-esteem, and caused them to give up hope.
2) They scourged them, causing significant blood loss. This was not only torturous, but weakened their bodies, which sped death forward.
3) They stripped you naked, humiliating you, and exposing you to the elements. This further demoralized the victim, and caused them to lose the will to survive.
4) They deprived you of water, facilitating dehydration, and organ failure.
5) They nailed you to whatever they could find. In Jesus' death, it was a cross. You hung from these nails, trying to support yourself, as gravity pulled downward at your body.
6) As you weaken, it becomes harder to get a breath, and you begin to suffocate.
7) And, to hurry death, they would often break your legs with a mallet! (Thankfully, our Savior "...gave up the ghost..." before this became necessary.)
But, as Jesus suffered an unimaginable horror on the cross, one of the two thieves that was crucified with Him, asked Him save him. "And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." (v. 42)
Just a simple plea was all it took!
Jesus assured him, "...To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."
The Bible teaches that at the instant the believer dies, they go to heaven! And for no other reason than this, "They believe that Jesus is their Savior!"
Think about this scriptural account of the thief's salvation:
1) The thief was a, thief! A sinful wretch!
2) He made a "death-bed" confession of faith! Literally, in the last fleeting moments of his life on earth, he asked Jesus to save him!
3) There was no time for good works!
4) He made no contribution to the church!
5) He had no time to tell his friends about God's saving grace!
6) He had done nothing, not even was he baptized!
7) Yet, Christ said to him, "...To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."
That is "Amazing Grace"!
So, we know, that Jesus died that day before sunset. Both of the criminals died, as well, that day.
But the one that called upon Jesus for salvation, stepped out of this mortal realm, and entered eternity with Jesus!
That evening, he and his Savior, were in paradise, together!
I don't know what paradise will be like. I don't know where paradise is, either! But, I know that Jesus is there. And that is all I need to know!
If the grace of God could save that thief, His grace is sufficient for any one that will call upon Him!
Please share this Good News with every one you know.
From my heart to your heart.