Thought of the Day April 2, 2019 Jesus and the good thief

By 9:48 AM

Jesus and the good thief on the cross 

It could be that the witness of Jesus’ love of the sinner and his desire to save, even the most forsaken, compelled this man to cry out to Jesus. The great evangelizer is still at work even from the cross. “Today, you will be with me in paradise.”  The dying Christ responds with utter tenderness and reassurance for which we hardly dare hope.

Jesus’ reply proved the truth of Hebrews 7:25: “He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

Interestingly enough, Jesus’ reply to the mockery of the crowd was to pray for forgiveness for them. But Jesus’ reply to the sincere repentance and profession of faith of this man was the promise of eternal salvation.

Here is the fulfillment of the parable of the lost sheep found in Luke. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, leaves the ninety-nine and goes after the one who has strayed.  When he finds it and returns with it, the Good Shepherd responds: “I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” (Lk 15:7)  

A sincere repentance, an acknowledgment of Jesus, earns the grace of salvation for this man. He is the first to experience the gift Jesus came to give all of us, mercy, reconciliation and the forgiveness of our sins.  It reminds us that the grace of mercy and salvation is available to us even at the very end of our life. But we can’t presume on this grace.

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