“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
These are the last words from one of the criminals crucified on each side of Jesus. Although the other criminal mocked Jesus saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” (Luke 23:39) Rebuking the criminal, he confessed his sins and asked Jesus for forgiveness.
We’ve been sharing our sermon series, Practicing Compassion. Throughout this series, we hope that we will transform our souls and communities with the love of God. This transformation must begin within ourselves. Yes, we must learn to have compassion toward and love ourselves to make the Gospel flow into our neighbors and community.
This was the moment of transformation for the criminal. At the very last moment of his life, he realized his helplessness on his cross and acknowledged God’s unfailing love. This all happened when he witnessed the passion of Jesus Christ.
Today, I pray God pours on us the same love and grace which the saved criminal witnessed. As human beings, we are imperfect beings. However, Jesus loves even the worst part of our souls. Let us not forget what Jesus said to this criminal: “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
May the love of everlasting God be with us all the time.