Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” – Luke 23:43 (NIV)
Today is what is known as Holy Saturday. It is the “in-between” day that Jesus lay in the tomb after His death. We can only imagine the confusion, sadness and sense of loss experienced by the followers of Jesus. The hope of what “could have been” with Jesus as their Messiah was lying in a tomb. Jesus promise of resurrection had somehow alluded their hearts.
In our scripture today, the recipient of Jesus’ promise of everlasting life was a man who did not live long enough to see Easter Sunday. But he had more faith than Jesus’ followers. From his cross he asked Jesus: “Remember me.”
What did he see in Jesus in the short encounter he had? What would prompt this kind of faith and belief that would ask another man dying on a cross: “Remember me.” Whatever the motivation, Jesus response was all he asked for: “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
The promise of the resurrection is for all of us. It is a message that you are loved, that God remembers you. It is a promise full of hope. The promise of the resurrection is that life eternal can be yours. Because Jesus died and rose again, so also can you. It is a promise that begins right here and now then continues when God calls you into His nearer presence on your own resurrection day. And so, may you embrace the promise of resurrection life. Get ready for tomorrow. It’s almost time to celebrate. He is risen, indeed!
Lord, sometimes I lose hope. Help me to be aware this Easter that you remember me – that, because of the resurrection, new life has begun – that all kinds of new things are possible!