“Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
Jesus is nailed to the cross, between two criminals. He calls out “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”
The crowd watches; the leaders mock. The leaders say that if Jesus is the Messiah He should save Himself. The Romans scoff at His claim to be King of the Jews. Even one of the crucified criminals mocks Jesus.
But there is faith in the picture. The other crucified man calls out to Jesus, “Remember me,” and Jesus replies, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”
So many mockers and scoffers! Next Sunday many churches around the world will read this passage to celebrate “Christ the King.”
What a declaration this makes. Christ rejected by many of his own people, deserted by His closest friends, and now mocked by all except one wretched man nailed to a cross; this is the King!
What sort of Kingdom is this? What King is this?
Jesus is lifted high for the world to see, on a cross not a throne. God declares “This is my beloved Son! This is your King!”
And the whole world mocks Him.
Just one man has the eyes of faith to see reality.
Where am I In this story?
Am I a “disciple” huddling fearfully in a house somewhere?
Am I the religious leader looking for personal power and prestige, rejecting God in the process?
Am I part of the ruling elite, so focussed on maintaining the status quo that I could crucify the Son of God?
Am I the mocking criminal?
Or am I that other man, the one man of faith?
Jesus is the King rejected by every layer of society. He is the King who comes to power by laying everything down- even His own life.
This is our God.
“Jesus remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
Lord please open my eyes to see the reality rather than illusion; to see the world as you see it; to see myself as you see me.
Today I identify with the man of no repute, a condemned and dying criminal, worshipping a King who made Himself a man of no repute. But I see through the veil to see the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, laying down His life for the world and for me.
Thank you for the promise, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Amen