(DAY # 2) The Seven Last Words of Jesus from the Cross
Father God grant us the blessing to be with You every day. We long to be in paradise with You and Your Son Jesus. It blesses our heart to know Jesus is with You and that He is with us. Abba Father help us to keep this in mind. We pray for others to join us in paradise with You right now. We set heavenly places in Christ Jesus our Lord. Glory Hallelujah, Praise You Jesus, Thank You Holy Spirit for being with us too. So grateful for Your help each day to stay focus on joining Jesus in paradise. AMEN.
Title: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Reading: Gospel of Luke 23:39-43 King James Version (KJV)
“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. 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
2 Corinthians 12:4; Romans 2:7; Genesis 28:15; Exodus 33:14; Deuteronomy 20:1; Isaiah 43:2; Matthew 18:20; Matthew 28:20
Theme: (The Passion of Christ)
Warm-up Question:”What does it mean to be in the presence of God?”Goal: To hear the voice of Jesus
As Jesus hung on the cross, he was mocked by the leaders and the soldiers. One of the criminals being crucified with him added his own measure of scorn. But the other crucified criminal sensed that Jesus was being treated unjustly. After speaking up for Jesus, he cried out, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (v. 42).
Jesus responded to this criminal, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise” (v. 43). The word paradise, from the Greek word paradeisos, which meant “garden,” was used in the Greek Old Testament as a word for the Garden of Eden. In Judaism of the time of Jesus it was associated with heaven, and also with the future when God would restore all things to the perfection of the Garden. Paradise was sometimes thought to be the place where righteous people went after death. This seems to be the way Jesus uses paradise in this passage.
Thus, we have encountered one of the most astounding and encouraging verses in all of Scripture. Jesus promised that the criminal would be with him in paradise. Yet the text of Luke gives us no reason to believe this man had been a follower of Jesus, or even a believer in him in any well-developed sense. He might have felt sorry for his sins, but he did not obviously repent. Rather, the criminal’s cry to be remembered seems more like a desperate, last-gasp effort.
Though we should make every effort to have right theology, and though we should live our lives each day as disciples of Jesus, in the end, our relationship with him comes down to simple trust. “Jesus, remember me,” we cry. And Jesus, embodying the mercy of God, says to us, “You will be with me in paradise.” We are welcome there not only because we have right theology, and not only because we are living rightly, but because God is merciful, and we have put our trust in Jesus.
What wonderful faith this repentant sinner has in Jesus – far more than the doubting Thomas, one of his own Apostles. Ignoring his own suffering, Jesus responds with love and mercy in His second word.
The second word again is about forgiveness, this time directed to a sinner. Just as the first word, this Biblical expression is found only in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus shows his Divinity by opening heaven for a repentant sinner – such generosity to a man that only asked to be remembered!
This expression offers us hope for salvation, for if we turn our hearts and prayers to Him, we will also be with Jesus Christ at the end of our lives. Thank You, Lord for dying on that cross for me and the whole world. Now, let’s look at God’s presence.
Reading Scripture in another version: Luke 23:39-43 (RSV)
39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
In God’s Presence:
We are aware of the reality of this presence from our obedience to His Word. “We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praise of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). Note that Peter says that “we are chosen people . . . belonging to God.” If we belong to Him, will He not be present among us? We never lose the reality of God’s presence, no matter how badly we fail; we never sin so much as to lose our salvation; we never sink so far as to banish the Holy Spirit
forever. We can anger God because of our sin, but true believers never lose the presence of the Holy Spirit. While we will never lose the reality of God’s presence, we might well lose the “sense” of His presence.
Every child of God invariably goes through this feeling of losing God’s presence from time to time, like a landlord who has left his house and gone away on business for a while. He has not left the house completely empty, for, if he had, he would have taken all his belongings with him. But because he has left all his furniture and belongings in that house, does it not mean that he will return once again? Any believer knows that there are times of spiritual leanness where perhaps the Lord determines to test our faith. Does He not sift us; does He not push us through the winnowing flames of affliction that we might be all the more pure? (Job 23:10; 1 Peter 1:7)
But the practical upshot of being in God’s presence is joy! Many Christians go around gloomy and dejected because they lack this sense of God’s presence. The hymn “Trust and Obey” tells us there is “fellowship sweet” for those who walk with the Lord in obedience and faith. But the sweet fellowship that comes from obedience and trust in the Lord is not a mere fancy or passing whim. It sustains us, especially during trials, for “the joy of the Lord shall be your strength” . (Nehemiah 8:10). James, the Lord’s brother, writes, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trails of many kinds” (James 1:2) because trials produce faith and develop perseverance. When we persevere through trials, proving to ourselves and to others that our faith is real, our sense of God’s presence increases, as does our joy in it.
Today You’ll Be with Me in Paradise (23:43)
“Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.’ (23:43)
What a wonderful promise Jesus gives the believing thief: presence with Christ in paradise! Our English word “paradise” is a transliteration of the Greek word paradeisos, and that comes from an Old Persian word pairidaeza, “enclosure.” In the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament the word is used especially for the Garden of God in the creation story (Genesis 2:8-10, 16, etc.), and this translation moves the word from secular parks to the sacred Garden of God. Judaism of Jesus’ day equated Paradise with the New Jerusalem and saw it as the present abode of the souls of the departed patriarchs, the elect, and the righteous. In the New Testament the word paradise is used three times:
“Today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
“And I know that this man — whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows — was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.” (2 Corinthians 12:3-4)
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:7)
In 2 Corinthians 12:3-4 Paul seems to equate the “third heaven” with paradise. I think we can identify paradise with heaven and be pretty safe. Jesus is promising the believing thief that he will be with Jesus in heaven “today.”
Reading Scripture in another version: Luke 23:39-43 (NASB)
39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
David speaks of a joy that only the righteous can know (Psalm 16:11)-a joy that is but a foretaste of a far greater and everlasting joy when we see the Lord’s face in the glory to come. The hymn writer John Newton spoke of these “solid joys and lasting treasures that only Zion’s children know.”
Point of Interest: Reconciliation
Place to Share: Jerusalem/Galilee:
1). Who was Jesus speaking to in this verse? (Luke 23:39-43)
2). What was in the heart of the malefactor who railed on Jesus?
3). If we don’t accept Jesus, we fall under what?
4). The Bible says, “confession is good for the____.”
5). What do Roman 10:9 says?
6). What must we confess?
7). Have you staked your life on Jesus?
8). Have you put your ultimate trust in him?
9). Do you know that when your time comes you will be with him in paradise?
10). Read Philippians 2:11 and explain it.
Reading: Day# 2 (Luke 4-6)