DAILY DEVOTION, February 18, 2022
And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43; for context, read Luke 23:33-43).
The story of the thief on the cross is familiar. If that thief were a relative, we would be in despair. We would think there is no way Uncle Thief will be in heaven. He wasted his life on stealing. I have had friends and family members I wondered about. Would they be in heaven, or . . . Maybe you have wondered also. This episode gives us hope. Here is a man who had done little if anything worthy of praise. At the end of his miserable life, he turned to Jesus. His understanding of Jesus was limited. He reached out to Him in a last-ditch effort to find redemption. His faith was immature but sincere. Jesus assures him that he will be in paradise.
When death strikes, we do not know what is in the heart of a loved one. But, yes, even those who lived without faith may reach out to Jesus, as did the thief on the cross. We are often ignorant of the spiritual state of loved ones, but there is hope in Luke 23. So, never give up hope for your loved ones who are deceased. Perhaps they did not demonstrate much in the way of faith during life, but maybe, just maybe, they reached out to Jesus when the end was near. And if you are concerned about the spiritual status of living loved ones, keep praying that they will open their hearts to Jesus.
Father, I am so happy to know that You are on our side. You want to bless us all with Your forgiving love. All You ask of us is faith in Your Son. If there is hope for a thief, there is hope for us all. I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.