And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
And isn’t that truly the desire of every heart that reaches out to Christ for His mercy and grace? Isn’t that just the longing of our heart every day just to finally go to be with Him forever? When sin had left us crushed and broken, led us straight to death, to a cross of our own, and He found us even there on the brink and promised us life, didn’t our heart just flood with joy and love for our Savior? And when those last moments come, when our end draws near, we don’t have to be afraid, but just listen for the whisper of Jesus telling us, “Today you will be with Me.” That is the end for every believer in Christ, and what a glorious day it will be to see Him face-to-face.
That thief next to Jesus got an up-close view of His last moments. He shared His agony, and he looked into His eyes and found kindness and compassion even for him in that state. He had gotten to a bad place, but that bad place led Him straight into the arms of Jesus. He had done things wrong in his life, but his sins were forgiven. He had made so many wrong choices, but that one at the end mattered most when he realized who Jesus really was and believed, and that was all it took. And when he died not long after this moment, he found that Jesus was true to His word.
What hope we have, then, though we have to wait much longer to be with our Lord, that His promises always stand. He has told us that eternal life is our gift for believing on Him. He has promised in His unfailing Word that He Himself is our prize at the end our lives. And no matter how we came to know Him or how long we served Him or what our past was like before we said yes to Him, we’ll get to go to be with Him. And to never be apart from the one we love will be the most glorious experience.
What love was ever radiating from Jesus Christ. Even from the cross, He was willing to reach out and meet that great need of all of our souls. He had come, the Great Shepherd, to gather together a flock because He wants to be with us just as much as we who believe want to be with Him. So may we live our lives with eternity in mind, knowing that Jesus is there waiting for us. Let us anticipate that great day when we will go to be with Him, when, finally, we’ll be home.