Shared April 3rd, 2015
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise, Luke 23:43.
Friday is the day of crucifixion. I have some issues to grapple with. But, let us tackle them in chronological order. On that Friday, some 2000 years ago as He hung on the cross, one of the thieves who were hanging with Him said “Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom”. In response, Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise,” (Luke 23:42-43).
Later on in John 20:17 we read that after Jesus had resurrected, He met Mary Magdalene to whom He said, “Do not cling to me for I have not yet ascended to My Father…” Some translations have “do not touch me…” How can Jesus (in the scenario with Mary) have not yet ascended to the Father but on the other hand He (with the thief on Friday) has been in Paradise? How do we reconcile these seemingly contradictory and conflicting statements?
Let us talk about grammar and punctuations like commas in the context of ancient Greeks and the Bible. Greeks did not have any equivalent to our modern device of punctuation and with respect to the Bible sentence punctuation was invented and introduced into the biblical manuscripts several centuries after the time of Christ. Further, the ancient Greeks did not use spaces between words or paragraphs. Texts were a continuous string of letters, with an occasional blank line inserted to mark the end of a major section, though even this was not always done. Read More
Now let us look at the thief on the cross’s conversation with Jesus. Did Jesus say to the thief “I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise” or, “I tell you the truth today, you will be with Me in paradise”? (Luke 23:42-43) Let us be honest and admit to ourselves and to each other that neither of us, you and I, are native speakers of Ancient Greek. But then, let us admit something else, that are many scholars who dedicated the better part of their lives to both reading and studying the Biblical manuscripts in the original languages and in so doing have come to have a good sense of the style and preferences of each author and therefore are able to authoritatively give us accurate insight into what was said or written. Read More
So back to Jesus’ conversation with the thief on the cross, was Jesus saying, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me . . .” (meaning that “today, this very day” is when the thief would be in paradise) or was He saying, “I tell you the truth today, you will be with me . . .” (meaning that “today” is when Jesus was speaking, as in “I’m telling you today, right now…”)?
Now, if Jesus did not break from His well-known and regular practice, something, which He repeated in His conversation with the thief on the cross, would it not be strange if He deviated that day on the cross? This is what I mean. Whenever Jesus was going to come up with a revelation, something very significant He always prefaced it with a prefix, with the phrase, “Verily I say unto thee,” which in our local parlance means “I tell you the truth”. This prefix of Jesus’ means “Pay close attention.” Someone said Jesus used this phrase seventy-six times in the New Testament. Isn’t that something! Read More
That was the message Jesus was giving to the thief on the cross. While the other thief was proving himself to be a fool and an eternal loser, dying without any hope for having rejected Christ, he was close enough to hear the special, key message that Jesus was about to deliver to this other thief, who was wise and ready to grasp this opportunity for eternity in paradise. Read More
Do you know what else? No other person, one else but Jesus says it. And by the way, every major, reliable Bible translation (KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV, ESV, and RSV) has the comma placed before the word today. They are all in one accord that Jesus was speaking of the time that the thief would enter paradise, and it was that very day, not later. The thief was to look forward to being with Jesus in paradise on that very same day. TBC.
Proposed prayer: Dear Father, thank You for the accuracy of Your Word. Forever it is settled in heaven. Thank You for the cross where You displayed salvation, wisdom, righteousness, justice and love for mankind. Amen.