“Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’” vss. 42-43
In Luke’s gospel Jesus continues his ministry as he hangs dying on the cross, first forgiving his taunting killers and then offering hope to the criminal hanging next to him. His promise concerning Paradise has been scrutinized and studied for centuries–it’s an ambiguous term and can mean a variety of things. It’s often used as a synonym for Eden and some have identified it as Abraham’s Bosom, a place of peace and pleasure for the righteous dead. Still others wonder what he might have meant by “today.” It seems almost antithetical to the widespread belief in the resurrection of the dead to think that Jesus and the thief would experience new life on the day of their death. As is often the case we should probably just take a deep breath and quit trying to figure out an answer. It is enough to simply receive the promise of new life, rejoice for a moment, and then go on to enjoy this life to the fullest. The truth is that we don’t know the details of what happens when we die–no one does. How about we just take Jesus’ words at face value? Paradise awaits–there will be peace and comfort. And it does feel good to know we won’t have to wait!
Thought for the Day: Where is Paradise in this world?