I went to a Good Friday service today at church. It was at an inconvenient time…right in the middle of Crumb’s naptime….so I had to wake him up and then feed him there. I almost didn’t go. I’m so glad I did. God met me there and spoke words into my heart I needed to hear.
The pastor and several of the Elders split up the last seven words that Jesus spoke from the cross. Two of them stood out to me and I have meditated on them all day:
Luke 23:43: “Jesus answered him [the thief], ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.'”
When the thief asked Jesus to remember him, he did not ask for the Sinner’s Prayer, or if the thief knew the 4 Spiritual Laws, or if he had confessed his sins. He recognized what was in the thief’s heart, and granted him salvation.
I don’t discount the tools the church uses to share the gospel, but Jesus looks at the heart of a person. He knows what’s in my heart, and your heart. “Today you will be with me in paradise.” What comforting words.
John 19:26-27: “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!'”
In the midst of excruciating pain, total humiliation, and abandonment by His Father, he looks down at his mother with compassion, and gives her into the care of his beloved disciple. Tortured, and physically suffocating as he hangs on the cross, he still is thinking of others, rather than himself.
Comfort and compassion. The God of the Universe came as a man, endured worse agony than I will ever suffer, and still honored his mother and recognized the state of a man’s heart.
He cares for me. And he cares for you. Do I live like I know that? Do you know that? Do you live like it?
If you don’t know that Jesus Christ loves you and wants to know you, please email me. He wants to be your best friend, your Comforter, your God. He wants a relationship with you. He wants you to be with Him in paradise.
*disclaimer: my meditations are not original…much of the content is from the Elders who shared.