For the seven days of Holy Week, our devotions will focus on the seven last words of Christ. At our Good Friday Worship at 7:00 p.m. on April 14, we will hear these words read aloud again and mediate upon them through prayer and song.
And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!’ The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’ There was also an inscription over him, ‘This is the King of the Jews.’ One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 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.” (Luke 23:35-43)
Where do we go when we die? Do we remain in the ground until the day Christ comes again? Can I, who sometimes believe in Jesus, but most of the time, barely hold onto hope, let alone follow his life of love and service, really truly be confident in eternal life with him? Why doesn’t God do more to end the suffering and death of those all around us now? Why wait until some future day?
Jesus words from the cross are a welcome and comforting promise. In the death, he promises that we are with him. We need not worry about any more than that. Even more, today I am with Jesus, too. He is with me always. Even when I have my own doubts and my own questions. Jesus does respond back to me in kind. He says, “Today you are with me. Now. Right now. And that is the most wonderful, beautiful place that I could ever be.”
Prayer: Ah, Holy Jesus, be with me now. Through my doubts, through my fears, through my questions, Lord Jesus be with me so that today will be the most beautiful place I could possibly be. Amen.