Today you will be with me
We make all kinds of promises in our lifetime. As our children grow, they may wish to do something, and it may be challenging to make the scheduling work; however, we work even harder when we give our word or when we make them a promise. We set up a special time to be with our fiends and relatives. So, we put the event on our calendars, and in this modern day, we have our calendar send us a reminder via text or email. When I was a teenager, promise rings were given to girls who were considered special to their boyfriends, and when a boy gave the ring to the girl, he was making a public promise that he and she were dating only each other. Here in the USA, if we are in a courtroom, and we are called to the witness stand, we make a vow — a promise — to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, “so help me God.” Then there are the vows or promises we make to God regarding our church as we become members. Finally, there are those all important promises to our future spouse on our wedding day, and we covenant or promise that we will honor these promises “until death do we part.” And usually these promises are made in fairly secure and safe places.
This was not so, as Jesus was dying. All around Him, below the cross, the mob was cursing, swearing, and mocking Him. They snarled, “If you are the Christ….” As a matter of fact, while He was bleeding and dying, one of the other two guys hanging there with Him snarled at Him, “If you are the Christ, take yourself down from here (the cross) and take us with you!” So, even in His torturous death He was in the midst of being tortured by one of those who hanged there with Him. There was nothing safe about this place. It was coming at Him from all sides!
Remember Me, Lord!
Yes, it was coming at Him from ALL sides, but one. All around He was being harangued, and NO ONE was defending Him. Then, the other guy on the cross next to Him spoke up. On that day, He is the ONLY one to defend Jesus. He said to the other “malefactor” “Don’t you fear God!” He went on to say something like, We are hanging here for all the crimes we committed, but this man (Jesus) He hasn’t done anything worthy of this punishment. And, with his life’s blood and Jesus’ life’s blood draining out of them (over their faces into their eyes) he talked directly with Jesus. “Lord, remember me when you come into Your Kingdom.” Then Jesus gave Him this unbelievably blessed and gracious promise: “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”
That man the KJV calls a “malefactor” became a man who experienced the gift of the faith factor. He actually believed in Jesus and died with Jesus. He actually believed Jesus was going to be in His own Kingdom very soon, and he wanted to be with Jesus; therefore, they died together, but in a very few moments, that criminal was, as the Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:8, “absent from the body and present with the Lord.” No more suffering, no pain, and NO dying because Jesus did indeed remember him as they entered paradise.
Now, you are not on a cross. Perhaps, your life is fairly good. Still, the time will most assuredly come when you will be near taking your final breath as you draw closer to death. Will you be one who comes to Jesus right now, and will your request of Him, “Remember me, Lord, when you come into your Kingdom.” Or will you take the risk of doing like the other thief who died alone and certainly did NOT see Jesus in paradise, but “in hell he lifted up his eyes being in torment.” (Jesus very own description of hell.)
If you do seek Jesus in faith, there is NO question in my mind He will remember you. He will do for you what He came to do and what He promised the thief on the cross he would do. Your see, He is the ONLY one who can MAKE and KEEP eternal life promises. And there is no question in my mind that you WILL be with Him in Paradise, if you surrender to Him; however, If you choose to reject His salvation grace, you will NOT like the alternative. He cannot save anyone who doesn’t want to be saved. So, why not, surrender, turn from your sin and place your life in the hands of the one who keeps His promises, and who is the only one who can take you to Paradise.