“Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.’” (Luke 23:42, 43 NIV84)
There could not be more comforting words to hear from your deathbed than these: “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” Death is a strange thing. We accept it as natural for the animal kingdom, but deep down we find it awkward for human beings. Something about us doesn’t like it. Unlike animals, we can abstractly think about our existence and its ending; and when we do, we don’t like it. Death seems for most people to be unnatural, although it is inevitable. That is because God did not create us to die. He created man to be an immortal being. Death is a consequence of sin. We are still immortal, but we go through this unnatural process of death prior to moving on to Heaven or Hell. The key question to be asked by all humanity should be, “Where am I going after I die?” Jesus confirms for the thief who was dying next to Him that he was going to be in the kingdom of God (Heaven). He heard with his own ears that his eternal home would be in paradise with Jesus.
What about you? Are you certain of your eternal home? Can you hear and relate Jesus’ words to your own life? I pray that you can. I pray that you, like the thief, understand that Jesus is the way to the Father’s kingdom. Jesus says that He is “the Way, and the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). Jesus Himself says that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life (John 3:16). He also says that He is the resurrection and the life, and everyone who believes in Him will live, even if he dies (John 11:25). Jesus loves you! He has redeemed you! He has taken your sins and placed them upon Himself! He has conquered death! He has prepared a place in His kingdom for you! If you believe this and were to die today, you would be with Him in paradise.