Join us this Sunday! In-Person 9:00am & 10:45am, Online 9:00am, 10:45am & 5:00pm

Join us this Sunday! In-Person 9:00am & 10:45am, Online 9:00am, 10:45am & 5:00pm

Join us at the next Sunday worship service:
9:00am & 10:45am,
Online 9:00am, 10:45am & 5:00pm


“And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” – Luke 23:43.

Luke 23:43 contains some of the most powerful and beautiful words in all of the Bible. Those words, spoken by Jesus as He’s hanging on a cross, as He’s being mocked, as He’s being killed in the most cruel form imaginable in that day. There were two criminals crucified on either side of Jesus, with one of them taunting Him.

But there came a point when one thief’s heart was utterly changed. As he studied Jesus, suffering all that abuse so patiently—never reviling or insulting His tormentors—the thief began to see that this Man on the center cross was indeed who He claimed to be. The proof of his repentance is seen in his immediate change of behavior, as his words to Jesus indicate. He says to Jesus, “… remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” Jesus replies, “today you will be with me in paradise.”

This was significant because it represented what Jesus was doing in that moment. He was dying for the sins and sinners of this world. He did not have to do this, but His entire purpose in coming to earth was to not only love us, not only to show empathy to us by taking on human flesh but to die for us to free us from our sin.

We are not told specifically what this criminal did, but whatever it was, it was worthy of the most severe punishment. But even a terrible crime that the authorities determined to be worthy of death could be forgiven by Jesus.

“Today you will be with me in paradise.” Today, not in the future, but as soon as you breathe your last breath, you will be with Me in paradise. Jesus’ words to the dying thief conveyed an unqualified promise of full forgiveness, covering every evil deed he had ever done.  He wasn’t expected to atone for his sins, do penance, or perform any ritual. But instead, his forgiveness was full and free and immediate.

That was all Jesus said to him. But it was all the thief needed to hear. He was still suffering unspeakable physical torment, but for the first time in his life, he was free from the burden of his sin. The Savior, at his side, was bearing that sin for him. And the thief was now clothed in Christ’s perfect righteousness.

Think about that for a moment. Because of what Jesus has done on the cross, when those who believe in Him die on this earth, that day, that moment, you will be with Jesus in heaven.  Luke 23:43 shows the confidence we can have in Jesus even after our last breath. So no matter what happens today or tomorrow or next month or next year or ten years from now or 50 years from now, whenever it is when we breathe our last breath, in that moment, on that day, we will be with Him in paradise.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What can we learn from the repentant thief?
  2. What does it mean for us today?