Second word from the cross
By David Eck
Originally posted March 26, 2014, at I’m Christian. I’m Gay. Let’s Talk. Republished with permission of the author.
When we hear the word "paradise," we probably picture a sandy beach, clear blue skies, and palm trees waving in a warm tropical breeze. Or perhaps we picture a magnificent fall day with colors ablaze all around us. After a picture-perfect hike we settle into a log cabin with a blazing fire.
Paradise is the perfect spot, the beautiful moment where everything seems good and right in our world. It's the feeling of being unburdened by the worries and cares of life.
It's a place of peace and serenity where we feel safe and secure.
When Jesus promised the repentant thief, "Today you will be with me in paradise," he was offering him more than an idyllic vacation. Jesus gave him the gift of eternal life while this man was facing imminent death. No matter what bad decisions this man made, no matter how many wrong turns he had taken, Jesus was offering him the chance for a new beginning. Granted, this man was still going to die this day. However, he would not be lost to God; nor would he be lost to Jesus.
As we reflect on the significance of the second word from the cross, we are reminded that it's never too late to turn our lives around. It's never too late to ask forgiveness, to mend a broken relationship, to start again. The paradise Jesus offers us is for both sides of eternity. In the here and now, we are reminded that Jesus is our Good Shepherd who seeks us out when we are lost. In our life beyond the grave, we are promised that this same Good Shepherd will lead us to the green pastures and still waters of God's heavenly kingdom.
So, brothers and sisters, let us turn to Christ in our darkest moment, in our most desperate hour, and receive the gift of paradise: forgiveness, salvation and eternal life.
Find a link to David Eck’s blog I’m Christian. I’m Gay. Let’s Talk. at Lutheran Blogs.