Today we read the familiar account of Jesus on ‘trial’ before Herod and Pilate and the determination of the Jewish leaders to have him crucified – and “they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed.” [Luke 23 v.23]

            Today and in recent years the voices and published words of so many are urgent in saying there is no Creator, that life evolved in some way that is impossible for them to understand or explain – and the sayings and writings of such – today – have “prevailed”.

            What a privilege that we are among the increasing few who know how foolish this all is!

            Today’s chapter also contains one brief conversation – but it is fascinating and meaningful – and is unique in history.  Jesus is crucified together with two criminals, and one “railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” [v.39].   This was obviously said with no pretension of belief! “But the other rebuked him” [v.40] and made an honest statement and then a most remarkable request!

            The rebuke was, “”Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?  And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”[v.41]

            And then he asked (and we have corrected the wrong punctuation in the English text – there is no punctuation at all in the Greek) “  His request was, “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.”

            Three days later Mary Magdalene encounter the resurrected Christ, and he “said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” [John 20 v.17]  Let us daily read the words God’s has caused to be written and preserved: may they come alive in our minds so that we ‘hear’ his Son” saying unto you and I today”  – Be faithful and “you will be with me in Paradise.”   The word “paradise” occurs in a challenging way in Rev. 2 v.7, the time when the earth becomes a “paradise” with the returned Christ reigning in Jerusalem.

By Bro D.Caudery

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