Seven Words From The Cross (Part 2) by Jason Exley
THE SECOND WORD “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
If the First Word embraced all mankind within the scope of the dreadful act of crucifying Jesus and the potential of forgiveness through his prayer, then the Second Word narrows its focus to one single needy sinner. God not only sees the whole world but he sees it made up of individuals. On that fateful day in the history of the world, it happened that there were two thieves who were crucified alongside Jesus. This fact isn’t just recorded to round up the story, but as a piece of evidence that what was happening was part of God’s plan of salvation. It was conceived before the world existed and revealed through God’s messengers, centuries before. The particular prophecy that was being fulfilled is recorded in Isaiah 53 where the prophet declared that the coming Suffering Servant of the Lord was he who “was numbered with the transgressors” (53:12).
No man is beyond hope of redemption in whose soul still lingers some fear of God. And as he spoke, faith rose in his soul and he blurted out his appeal, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” It was a plea that did not fall on deaf ears. The response was immediate, “Truly, I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” The word “Paradise” is a Persian word meaning “a walled garden”. When a Persian king wished to do one of his subjects a very special honor he made him a “companion of the garden” and he was chosen to walk in the royal garden with the king. It was more than immortality that Jesus promised the penitent thief. He promised the honored place of a companion of the garden in the courts of heaven. “You will be with me” said Jesus. There’s salvation in the Cross.
THE THIRD WORD “Jesus said to his mother, ’Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple ’Here is your mother’” (John 19:26,27).
The Second Word from the Cross spoke of salvation to the sinner, but the Third Word introduces us to the wider implications of this great salvation. It sparks a relationship of love. A psychologist once said, “there are two things that men want: power and love.” At the very heart of all our wanting is the love that Jesus gave us on the Cross.
This Third Word from the Cross also reveals the relationship of Jesus with his disciple John. It didn’t require a long explanation for John to know what was meant. We read that from that hour John took Mary into his own home. This Word tells us that there’s love for you in the Cross, and it’s a love which having been received, is to be shared with others.
To Be Continued…