And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in paradise.” Luke 23:42, 43 (NASB)
Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead is the heart of Christianity. Without the resurrection Christianity would truly be a dead religion. The gift of eternal life through Christ was never more poignantly demonstrated than on the cross as Jesus forgave the sins of a criminal being crucified next to Him. The man put his total faith in Jesus as his Messiah. It was an instantaneous conversion through belief and not anything the thief did. If he did anything it was to lead the life of an offender that put him on that cross next to Jesus. He and the other thief being executed on the other side of Jesus deserved what they were getting while Jesus was about to die completely innocent.
Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is our assurance that, through Him, we have more to expect from this life than just a hole in the ground when we die. Jesus was first in this new life and through His resurrection led the way back from the power of death to incorruptible eternal life becoming the First Born among many brethren (Romans 8:29). As was the case of the thief there is nothing we need do but ask and believe in the Lamb of God.
The thief’s intent that day was to come before His God forgiven and worthy. He was about to find that because Christ lived he would live too. Whether dying, as the thief, or living only for ourselves, when we believe in God’s sacrificial Lamb we take hold of His promise; a promise that one day we will find ourselves worthy to stand with Christ in the Paradise of God. Because He lives all who trust in Him shall live too.
Happy Resurrection Day,