“Jesus said to him, ‘Truly I say to you,
today you shall be with me in Paradise.’”
The other night I was babysitting one of my young grandsons. I love to be with him and do whatever his heart desires with all of his toys.
After my daughter left he and I ran around the condominium playing firefighters. We must have put out 10-15 fires in only few moments! I admit that his energy level exhausted me soon enough.
I then clicked on a kids’ channel on the TV and he settled down with me to watch a program. I thoroughly enjoyed him as he willingly snuggled into my side and sat contented and let me relax for a half hour.
Usually he is not quite so settled and I thought he was just really happy to be on the couch beside Grandpa. The next day our daughter told us that her son was running a fever and seemed rather listless. Evidently my fond memory of him snuggling with me the previous evening needed some adjustment.
He was obviously not feeling well when I babysat him and so he was especially happy to be still and not run around all the time I was there. It did disappoint me but I have no doubts of his affection for his Grandpa. He and I are the best of friends and buddies. He enjoys sleepovers in our home and is always excited about coming to see us.
The repentant thief was about to leave this world where he had done so much evil. He knew he deserved to die and said so to the other thief before he spoke to Jesus. The sovereign grace of God connected the man to Jesus in the hour of his death.
It is remarkable that when Jesus departed from this earthly scene He took with Him a common criminal. It was not some great and glorious child of God who was privileged to go with Jesus from this world to heaven but rather one of the people rejected by society.
The thief was about to discover what happens to every child of God at the hour of their departing from this world for heaven. When the thief came to his time to die, Jesus was his companion in death. No Christian dies alone. Always angels come to them and take them home. Jesus rises to greet them (Acts 7:55) as they enter their eternal rest.
When He was dying, the “best Companion in the world”, took along with Him the worst possible companion, a despised and rejected thief. Imagine Jesus entering heaven with this man beside Him! Were there ever two companions more different? Incredible contrast that it was, it is so typical of our Beloved Lord Jesus.
My little grandson has a lot to attract me to him but what was there in the criminal to attract Jesus? They had no connection before this moment. Yet Jesus loved the man and blessed him eternally. Having never walked with the man during His earthly ministry, Jesus chose to walk out of this world with him into the glory of heaven. Shall not those of us who seek to love and honour the Saviour receive just such a welcome to our eternal home?
The world may never know you but rest assured dear believer Jesus does and is not that all that matters?