“Remember me when you come into your kingdom,” Luke 23:42.
When the Lord Jesus was hanging on the cross, two sinful men were crucified with Him, with one on either side. Both had been found guilty, but one man acknowledges that the One on the middle cross was innocent and had done nothing amiss. Perhaps this sinful man had some acquaintance with Jesus. This thief made the earnest plea recorded in today’s key verse.
“Remember me when you come in your kingdom,” Luke 23:42.
Of all the many people who were assembled there that day, this man was one of the few who focused not on an earthly kingdom but on a heavenly one. Jesus responded to his request with amazing words, saying that the thief would be with Jesus in paradise. This man had no opportunity for apology or restitution. Here is a glorious example of forgiveness and justification—the cleansing blood of our Savior cleared the record of the thief and he was forgiven.
The story is told of a compassionate doctor who had many very poor clients. Over the years, he accumulated unpaid medical bills from them. After the doctor’s death, those who examined his ledger found that on many of the accounts was written in red ink ‘Forgiven.’
However, his wife had a different nature and insisted that these accounts should be paid. She presented her case to a judge. The judge asked her one question: “Is this your husband’s handwriting in red ink?” She replied, “Yes.” The judge pronounced his verdict: ” Nobody can collect this money when the doctor has pronounced forgiven.”
Unlike those debtors, we must acknowledge our sin debts before they will be forgiven. Having done that, we can have full confidence that our spiritual healer, Jesus Christ, has written over our account ‘forgiven.’ God commands that in return, we forgive others and extend grace as we have been shown grace. It can be one of the hardest things we face in life. The pain and hurt others cause us is real and great. But the pain of living with bitterness and not forgiving can poison your soul and destroy you. When we forgive others, we are not saying what they did was okay, but we are releasing them to God and letting go of sin’s hold on us. “If you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you,” Matthew 6:14.