We only have seven recorded phrases that Jesus said while He was dying on the cross. And only one of those was an actual conversation with someone.
I want to share a few thoughts I picked up about that conversation from Arthur W. Pink’s book, ‘The Seven Sayings of the Savior on the Cross.’ They are worth your time to contemplate death, salvation and Heaven.
And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:42,43).
This dialogue is interesting because Jesus was talking to a thief who was being crucified beside Him. There are some principles we can notice for us today.
1. He is a representative sinner.
This man was a convicted and condemned criminal. We may not feel like our sin deserves the same punishment. But all sin will be judged in death.
2. He is a man that had come to the end of himself before he got saved.
I’m sure he felt in control of his life while he was enjoying his sin. However, he was now nailed to a cross and knew he would be dead soon. He had nothing and had no where else to turn but to the Man who was being crucified beside him.
3. We see the meaning of repentance and faith.
He recognized his sinfulness and admitted the punishment was just. When he talked with Jesus, he demanded nothing. In humble faith he said, “Remember me.” He did not say anything else about himself.
4. He recognized spiritual truth.
He believed in the future where punishment would be given out by a righteous God. He recognized his own sinfulness. He bore testimony to Christ’s sinlessness. He confessed to Christ’s Godhead (Lord). He believed Jesus as could save him. He believed in Christ’s Kingship. He looked forward to the second coming of Christ. That’s pretty good doctrine for a criminal.
5. The Saviorhood of Christ is evident.
Even through His pain, Christ was ready to receive him. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Even in this deathbed confession, Christ accepted him. Christ is able to save all who come to Him.
6. We see the destination of the saved at death.
God’s grace exceeds our expectation. All the man wanted was to be remembered when Christ’s kingdom came. Jesus told him he would be in Paradise today. He would be dead soon. But death would bring him immediately to heaven. When a believer dies, he is immediately in the presence of Jesus Christ.
7. We see the longing of the Savior for fellowship.
Jesus could have simply said, “Today you’ll be in Paradise.” But the words “with me” reveal that Jesus really wants us. Jesus endured the cross because of the joy of having us in Heaven with Him. I’ve heard it said that Jesus would rather die than spend eternity without you.
The best part of our salvation is that we have the guarantee of Heaven as our eternal home. All we can imagine about Heaven or of its Creator is so very shallow and small.
When Marco Polo, the famous Venetian explorer of the 13th century, was dying, he was asked to recant about all his stories of China. People thought they were to exotic to be true. He is quoted as saying, “I will not, I shall not, I cannot, because I have not told half of what I saw.”
Heaven will be a beautiful home. I hope to see you there.
You can read the other sayings of Jesus: “Seven Sayings of Jesus on the Cross“