Today you will be with me in paradise. Luke 23:43, NIV
One of the most dramatic stories of forgiveness in history is recorded in the Gospels. It occurs at the climax of human history, as the Savior of the world hangs on a cross with His arms outstretched, a picture of unspeakable love and horrific agony.
On either side of Him hangs a thief. We don't know what these two men stole or how much. We just know they were criminals. One of those criminals hears remarkable, forgiving words from the Savior.
As if it wasn't enough to need forgiveness for thievery, the men who were crucified with Christ that day would need an additional measure of God's mercy. Matthew tells us that the crowds mocked the Savior as He hung against the Jerusalem sky. But Matthew also tells us that the two thieves joined in the verbal assaults. It's hard to conceive of men who were about to die an unspeakable death insulting Jesus, but the robbers also heaped insults on Him.
At some point in all the chaos of the scene, one of the thieves begins to watch the Savior. He hears the people shout insults, but he notices that this One does not retaliate. He hears the jeers and sees the hatred in their eyes, but this Man makes no threats. Instead, he hears the Savior cry out for mercy—and not for mercy for Himself, but for those who curse Him.
This one outlaw looks toward the man beside him and says, "Remember me . . . "As the thief peers into the tender eyes of the Savior, he doesn't see hatred, condemnation, or judgment. He sees only one thing: forgiveness.
In what ways can you and your spouse celebrate the forgiveness of Christ today?
Father, thank You that I, too, can look into Your eyes and find forgiveness.