14 April 2014
Jesus on the cross: Reflection 2
"Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." Luke 23:43
by Jane Holloway
Jesus’s words to the penitent thief, hanging on the cross next to him, resound down the centuries and land for us to reflect on today. A conversation was taking place on the crucifixion site, between the two thieves hanging on crosses on either side of Jesus. We listen in with bated breath. They are all dying in extreme agony. Incredibly, one of the thieves has seen the reality of his sin and calls out to Jesus for help. Jesus replies : "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." What an answer!
Did the thief expect even a reply in view of the banter of ridicule that had been taking place? "Truly, I say to you." Jesus used his well-worn phrase because he wanted to speak deep into his heart so he could be heard in the midst of his pain. "Listen deeply to this…" "Today you will be with me in Paradise." What a promise. Today the thief had been nailed to a cross to die. Today he had no hope. Jesus did not offer an easy way out. He knew the journey ahead. Jesus promised hope. He offered a promise lifeline of companionship the other side of death.
Each of us has received today as a gift from God. In all the choices we need to make and challenges to work through, we can choose to call on Jesus’s help in our helplessness or we can go it alone. What is the cry he is longing to hear from the depths of our hearts, that will enable him to speak afresh to us in our own personal ‘truly I say to you’ moment?
Let’s make the choice to listen deeply today, walking with Jesus up close rather than walking a few paces behind or even a few steps in front and so receive all he wants to share with us.
Jane Holloway is director of the World Prayer Centre, Birmingham