And he said, "Jesus, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom." And He said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise." Luke 23:42-43
Many thanks to Mr. Ian Adnams, director of Communication for the Lutheran Church-Canada, for sharing this article with me.
For the last 50 years attendance at the Church of England has been dropping and religious leaders have wanted to know why.
Now they know. A research paper produced by the International Journal of Social Economics has told them why.
The paper's chief findings suggest this has happened because people are gamblers. The young gamble they're not going to die soon so they feel comfortable postponing a serious relationship with the Lord. On the other hand, many of the elderly, knowing their demise cannot be put off indefinitely, go to church faithfully.
That makes sense to me. It also explains part of the reason why the thief on the cross was so brave in his confession, so solid in his defending of the Savior and so humble in asking Jesus to save him.
The paper would suggest the good thief wanted a relationship with the Savior because he was betting on a sure thing. He knew he was going to die and he wanted to be certain his eternal soul was safe.
Let me repeat that. The thief was betting on a sure thing. He knew he was going to die ... as will you and me and every person who reads these Daily Devotions, and those who don't.
It's a sure thing.
Unless Jesus returns soon, all of us are going to die. That fact means all of us need to be ready for that typically unknown hour of our departure. This is why all of us -- like the thief -- need to say, "Jesus, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom."
This takes us to another sure thing. Anyone who is brought to that point where his repentant heart can petition, "Jesus remember me" -- that person will hear Jesus say, "You will be with Me in paradise."
Indeed. So we could be with Him is why Jesus came into this world. It is why He fulfilled the Law for us; it is why He carried our sins; it is why He allowed Himself to be condemned and crucified.
Each week your church has special services remembering the sacrifice, the suffering, the death and resurrection of the Savior. Won't you spend some time giving thanks for Jesus, who, most certainly, has shown He wants us to be with Him in paradise?
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, today I give thanks that You want me with You in heaven. May I, like the Good Friday thief, admit my sin and my need for Your blood-bought forgiveness. Finally, may I rejoice in Your promise I shall be with You. This I ask in Your Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries