“Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.’”

Luke 23:42-43

Each time I read these words, I feel the same awe as when I first heard them. This man—nameless, convicted of crimes, alone in the world—hung on a cross next to the Creator of the Universe. And he was regarded by Him.

Through much of ancient history, people thought of the afterlife as a place of diminished existence. But Jesus, Paul tells us, “brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10). We will be with Jesus for all eternity, vibrant and rejoicing with Him. No matter what our difficulties or failures now may be, then and there we will have life to the full, not diminished, but unbelievably expanded.

None of us knows exactly what heaven will be like. But the cross where Jesus spoke comforting words even to a thief has taken away our fear. We can testify along with hymn writer John Newton who said, “When I first became a Christian, I thought I would progress from one degree of holiness to another until I met him. Now I am old, I am ashamed. But thank God he will not be ashamed of me.”




Scripture Focus

1 Corinthians 2:6-10

Insight

Ask your heavenly Father to give you an inkling of what it will be like to be in paradise with Jesus.

Bible In A Year

  • Genesis 31-32
  • Psalm 16
  • Matthew 24