Have you ever seen the movie The Passion of the Christ? One scene sticks out for me. When Jesus died, there were two thieves crucified with him.
What sort of person got crucified? Nice guys didn’t get crucified. Instead, people who were, by our standards, horrible were executed. You wouldn’t have wanted these thieves in your neighborhood, much less your home. Yet one of them had the audacity to ask Jesus to take him to heaven!
From a logical standpoint, you might expect Jesus to answer, “Are you kidding? Take you to heaven? Look at what sort of person you are! You deserve to be hanging on that cross!”
But listen to what Jesus says: “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). How can that be? Jesus came to seek and to save what was lost. He came for the sick. He came for sinners. Jesus came because we needed a Savior who could die for us. By dying and rising, Jesus paid for the sins of the whole world! He paid for your sins, for my sins, and yes, that even includes that thief’s sins.
That’s why we can look at that thief with joy. If there was room in heaven for him, then there is room in heaven for me and you too. And knowing that gives us the confidence to live today and tomorrow and the day after that and . . .