And may your hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time. —I Kings 8:61

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” —Luke 23:40-43

 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and also “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-40).  Oh that we would do so.  May we have hearts that are “fully committed to the Lord our God.”  And may this be evident by our Loving obedience to Him.

Even in his dying moments one of the criminals crucified with Jesus came to understand who Jesus was/is.  He put his faith in Jesus as they both went through the tortuous final moments of life on the cross.  What was the evidence of this “criminal” putting his faith in Jesus?  Here is his statement of faith— “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  What was this “criminal” acknowledging in that statement?    He acknowledged his guilt by saying that “we are getting what our deeds deserve.”  He called on Jesus.  Jesus means Savior.  He wanted to be remembered in Jesus’ kingdom.  By this he was acknowledging Jesus was King and He would reign in His kingdom.  He was also acknowledging that physical death was not the end.  That Jesus would live after His death and that he also would.  Physical death is not the end of existence. 

So that was his statement of putting faith/trust in Jesus.  He did so not long before Jesus’ death or his own death.  How did Jesus respond to the “criminal” who confessed and called on Jesus?  Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”  Yes, that day the forgiven criminal would die.  That day also the forgiven criminal would be with Jesus in paradise!

This is our expectation after we die as well— “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (II Corinthians 5:8).  Yes, this criminal would soon die, but then he would be home with the Lord forever!  This is our desire as well— to be home with Jesus.  Dear fellow follower of Jesus… soon we will be home!  Rejoice and again I say rejoice!

Dear Father I so look forward to being home with Jesus and all who love Him.  Yes, I look to that day.  May I now live to honor You by the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son Jesus.  So may it be!

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