Please take a moment to read Luke 23:32-43
When I first got this topic, my mind immediately went to 1978. That was a long time ago, but bad memories stay with you. We had just come back to our home in Texas from a home-buying trip in Nebraska. I was retrieving Ben, our 7-month-old, from his car seat when Ray told me not to come into the house. Robbers had come in and ransacked our lovely home. I was devastated! Who would do this to us? The items were personal and valuable to us. Heirlooms. Our treasures were never recovered. We were scarred.
The police told me the difference between a robbery and a burglary. A robber meets you face to face and takes something of value from you. A burglar comes into your space when no one is around and takes your belongings. Things could have been worse, the thieves could have been in our home, and confronted us.
Forgiveness is hard. So when I read the verses that Jesus faces a robber and the criminal pleads, “Jesus, remember me when you come into to your Kingdom,” I am surprised. Who does he think he is? A good person? Jesus’ response- “Today you will be with me in Paradise!” What was Jesus thinking? Obviously, He is someone special, someone who could see the good in this man. We all want that promise of being in Paradise with Jesus. This robber knew he had done evil deeds and could not count on his good works to get him into heaven. As Lutherans, we know our good works are not the ticket to heaven, only by faith in Jesus and the grace of God. But even on the cross, Jesus gave hope to the sinner, a solemn promise even.
And what of the other robber? He scoffed and taunted Jesus. We are that other robber hanging on a cross, denying death. Just as so many turned their backs on Jesus, we too may do the same when faced with the end of life or difficult times.
Heavenly Father, remember me when it is my time to die. Even though I am a sinner, I believe Jesus died for my sins and came into our world to save us, to teach us how to love. When times are distressing, help us prepare for death. Help us to see every day is an opportunity to share our faith. Amen
Written by Cindy Swanson
Cindy and her husband, Ray, have been members of Sheridan Lutheran Church since 1978. They have three sons, Ben, Andrew and Patrick who were confirmed at Sheridan. They enjoy spending time with their grandchildren who range in age from 4-10. Cindy retired from teaching writing to middle schoolers for Lincoln Public Schools in 2014. She savors a good cup of coffee, a well-written book, a lively discussion and chocolate. She lives near a cemetery and knows each day is a gift!