Today, in Paradise

There were three crosses on Calvary’s hill. Jesus died on the center cross with a thief on either side. Two who died that day were completely guilty. One was completely innocent. Two died there paying their debts to society. One died paying our debt of sin.

The second statement of Christ from the cross was to a dying thief who trusted in Him as his Lord and Saviour. And what great faith the dying criminal demonstrated. He believed while surrounded by a crowd of doubters. He saw Jesus in His most difficult hour and owned Him as his King. He accepted the promise of the Resurrection. He looked at a cross and saw a kingdom.

The dying thief’s faith was rewarded. Jesus said, “Today, thou shalt be with me in paradise.” What great heart questions are answered in this single statement of Jesus! Can one be saved in his dying hour? Can one be saved after a lifetime of wickedness? Can one be saved without baptism or communion? Can one be sure of heaven after death? To the one who believes Christ’s word to the thief, these are questions no more.

Copernicus was a great mathematician. His studies and calculations revolutionized the thinking of mankind about the universe. At death’s door, he saw himself not as a great scholar but only as a sinner in need of the Saviour. He chose the following words for his tombstone: “I do not seek a kindness equal to that given to Paul. Nor do I ask the grace granted to Peter. But that forgiveness which Thou didst grant to the robber — that, I earnestly crave!”

Jesus saves thieves, scholars, and other sinners. Trust Him today.