God's Far-Reaching Grace
Scripture Reading — Luke 23:32-43
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Luke 23:42 —
A person can live an entire life without seeking God. A person can reach the very end of life without ever having sought God. But that does not stop God’s grace from still reaching us and snatching us into his embrace.
Though he may have heard about Jesus, this criminal may never have had the opportunity to consider Jesus up close until their paths crossed at their execution. But now he was observing—even scrutinizing—this man who claimed to be the Son of God.
And why not? The criminal was facing death that very day. It has often been said that the mind can become very clear on the way to execution.
What this criminal saw in Jesus was someone who suffered so differently, and with purpose. Jesus even prayed for forgiveness for his crucifiers. He didn’t rant or scream. He showed tender care for his mother. And all the time there hung that sign over his head, saying he was “THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
As this criminal hung there, examining Jesus through glazed eyes, he saw the absolute truth: the one hanging next to him was, in fact, a king. He could not have understood everything about Jesus, but he knew enough to believe that Jesus could help him when he came into his kingdom. In this way the man sought God and found himself assured of life in paradise. Amazing!
O Christ, thank you for welcoming people who’ve squandered their lives and discovered you only at the very last minute. Thank you for such merciful grace! In your name, Amen