Light | Reader – Easter 2020
Silence and stillness before God (2 minutes)
Reading: Luke 23:42-43 (NIV)
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Truly truly. Or, "verily, verily." ἀμήν or amen, in Hebrew. Usually we say this to sign off at the end of a prayer. Or in response to something the pastor has said when it really hits home. But Jesus would start some important sentences with "Amen." Why?
1. It was like a signal to those around him who were listening, like, "What I'm about to say is important. Take note."
2. "Amen" literally means "so be it." In the Old Testament, this word was used as an expression of complete and total agreement. Whatever he's about to say, he's not saying it flippantly.
3. Often when Jesus begins with "Amen," [see also Matt. 18:3, Mark 3:28, John 8:51] He is discussing heavenly or spiritual matters and implying He has firsthand knowledge on the matter, knowing it to be true. Jesus knows it to be true because He's God. He is once again showing His divine nature, that he has firsthand knowledge on these matters, and is sharing them - with us.
As he hung on the cross, two criminals are enduring the same pain beside him, almost bickering with each other. Finally, one addresses Jesus and acknowledges his Lordship. In response Jesus, in his great mercy, promises this man - hanging on a cross - paradise. Truly, he says to the man. I know this, He's saying. How comforting that must have been in that moment of terrible pain.
We do not call today Terrible Friday, we call this day Good Friday. It was on this day Jesus did what we could not, sacrificing himself as a perfect offering to cover our sin. To bridge that insurmountable gap between God and man. And even on the cross He meets a broken man where he's at and loves him just the same.
Although we may currently be experiencing pain, even when things may seem hopeless - If we go to Him, Jesus promises us paradise today. This is hope.
Question to consider this week: What adjustments may Jesus be asking you to make to your current quarantine rhythms and priorities this week?
Action Step: Take a few moments to read all of Luke 23 and reflect on Jesus' crucifixion. Where in your life do you need to remember the promise of hope?
Prayer: Jesus, I cannot imagine the incredible pain that you went through on that day. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for your faithfulness even when it cost you everything. Thank you for restoring myself to you and for the promise of paradise even while pain endures. I will continue to put my trust in you. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Conclude with silence and stillness before God (2 minutes)