**We were tasked with writing some devotionals alongside Ruth for the Lenten season. Our theme for these 40 days is The Lord’s Prayer. This is about the two thieves on crosses next to Jesus. It fell on Day 46 of this series.**
Reading: Luke 23:39-43
Scenes from the Cross.
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[a]” 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
It was no mistake that Jesus hung between two criminals. They had equal chance of being saved, and yet only one of them sought salvation. Philip Yancey wrote,
“Only one person in the Bible receives a direct promise of heaven—a thief.”
Jesus’ first word on the cross was a word of forgiveness. His second word was a word of hope. When the thief asked Jesus for ultimate deliverance, Jesus made a promise: “This day you will be with me in paradise.”
Let us rejoice in the fact that he spoke the words of forgiveness first! Forgiveness is such a wonderful and amazing gift. When forgiveness flows forth it leaves room for hope. It is fitting that his second word was one of hope. Hope gives birth to new life. Jesus is the one who breathes new life into each of us.
Maybe you are someone who has already turned your life over to Jesus. What could you do to draw daily closer to him? Maybe you find yourself longing for the forgiveness of Christ? All you have to do is ask. Pray to Jesus, pray for a personal relationship with him! What a glorious day it will be when we all gather together in heaven!
Prayer Focus: Let us pray for Pastor Ruth and her family today.