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Scripture: Luke 23:39-43
Verse: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” – John 14:3 (NIV)
Nobody knows what he stole. Probably not a loaf of bread. A loaf of bread usually doesn’t get you killed.
Some think he was an insurrectionist. A rebel. A guerrilla. Maybe even one of Barabbas’ boys.
Did they heist tax money? Knock over a weapons’ depot? Doesn’t matter.
One thing’s for sure. He crossed the Romans so the Romans crossed him.
Savage spikes pinning him to the wood. His body stretched across rough timber. A grotesque billboard of brutality and pain.
Whatever he’d done, he knew he deserved it. But the other guy? The one the Sanhedrin hated so much? He didn’t belong here.
He belonged somewhere else, and wherever that somewhere else was, the thief wanted to be there with him.
“Remember me when you come into you kingdom.”
Had anyone ever remembered this guy, included him, invited him? Had he ever been shown kindness or generosity or was he the kind of man who had to take what he wanted?
There was no taking anymore. Just a desperate plea.
And a promise.
“Today you will be with me in paradise.”
With me. Not just in paradise, but with me in paradise. Included, invited, remembered. With me.
* * *
Nobody knows for sure what the thief on the cross had stolen, but we be can certain of what he was given. The promise of the presence of Jesus.
When we feel excluded, forgotten and hopeless, when we feel like there is no second chance, when it looks like it’s just too late, we can remember that the same promise applies to us.
Today, you will be with me.
Prayer: God, thank you for the promise of your presence. Thank you that I always have a place with you no matter where I’ve been, what I’ve done or what I’m going through. Amen.
Question: Where do you need Jesus’ presence in your life today?
Note: This post is excerpted from Everyday Easter Devotions.