Second Word | Seven Last Words of Christ
The second word is from Luke 23:43: Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.
Jesus uttered these words to another man hanging on a nearby cross who asked to be remembered by Jesus. To me, it is a promise—a promise that if we live our lives the way Jesus taught us and trust in God, then His sacrifice on the cross is our salvation. This man was guilty of a crime. His life was about to end in excruciating pain, and in his final moments, he asked Jesus to remember him. He was like the people we meet who may not seem kind or may have blemishes that color our opinion of them, but we are all redeemable through Jesus. Every life, every person, should be treated with dignity and respect. Those we turn away from have something to offer. We are forgetting hope and dismissing the opportunity for being a positive influence in the world if we turn away. We are giving up on those who are struggling and forgetting that they can change and improve. We are not turning our backs on them, but on God.
I recently lost both of my parents in a very short time. They were wonderful, faith filled people whose deaths left a hole in all of my family’s hearts. This particular utterance is very comforting. To know that today my parents are with Jesus in paradise dulls the pain of their loss. I wonder how often we just speak to Jesus without a tragedy or pain, how often we look past the blemishes of people and see the potential and good in them. We cannot be blind to love.