Shared April 11th, 2015
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise, Luke 23:43and John 20:15-17 says, “15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. 17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”
We will continue where we left off in our last exhortation, which ended by acknowledging that the topic led to other questions. If Jesus died, was buried and rose after three days (there are still skeptics who take issue with Jesus’ “3 days and nights,” saying that it doesn’t add up) but then many days later He ascended to heaven, how could He have been in paradise with the thief that Friday? Read More
If you are a Christian, then first I want you to see how beautiful the following is. Even though Christ was hanging on the cross of sin and had not yet made a public triumph over death, He authoritatively still displayed the efficacy and fruit of His death, and this at a time when He was suffering, in pain and being humiliated. He publicly proclaimed, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” What does that tell you? That He was never ever at all deprived of the power of His kingdom. That He was in full control. Thus as the divine King of all He restores life to the dead and without delay admits this reformed thief to His kingdom.
Then Christ committed His Spirit to the Father, giving up “the ghost.” Let us get this right: Christ Himself gave up His Spirit. After Christ died, it was His body that was buried in the tomb. However, His spirit/soul was never in the tomb. Jesus’ Spirit was in the Father’s presence; look at what the following verse says: Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. See that? So Jesus said to the thief beside Him who repented, “Today you will be with me in paradise”; He did not say, “I will be with you in hades/sheol” which means grave. He did not say, “I will be with you in hell first” nor did He say such to the other. Jesus’ body was in the tomb.
The story of this penitent thief is not found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark or John. It is only found in Luke’s Gospel and it shows full and instantaneous reconciliation. Jesus said, “Today.” A very beautiful word! The other beautiful words are “with Me.” “With Me?” Yes, “With Me.” I know several people who are born again have asked and some keep asking the question “Am I really a Christian? I wonder if I’m really saved.” Admittedly some struggle with this question more than others. And know what? This creates undue stress or anxiety thus in order to remove these things I believe Jesus just told the repentant thief, ‘You’ll be in paradise. You’ll be there t-o-d-a-y. With Me.’ It was like Jesus was saying, “Read my lips, t-o-d-a-y you will be w-i-t-h Me.” Not to see Jesus but be with Jesus. Heaven is a place where you and I will be with Jesus. Do you grasp it? Did I just say “Heaven”? Yes I did. Read More
Look here: And Jesus said “Paradise,” using paradeisos, an old Persian word for garden which is also a synonym for heaven. Paul the apostle uses this word in 2 Corinthians 12:4 but you will notice that in verse 2 he uses the word heaven. They are both the same thing. He referred to the third heaven, which is the abode of God. That’s paradise. In fact you will see the same word used in Revelation 21 and 22, in reference to the tree of life, that it is in heaven. So in effect, Jesus is telling the born again thief, “I’m taking you to heaven today!”
Plainly, there’s no transitional, interim or waiting place. Absent from the body, present with the Lord. As a Christian, to depart is to be with Christ. Your last breath here is your first breath there. Hallelujah! Read More
I am aware that there is a great deal of confusion regarding whether Jesus went to hell between His death and His resurrection. Right away, I will offer that this is a concept that mainly originates with the Apostles’ Creed (and to some extent the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer), which states, “He descended into hell.” At other times, “He descended to the dead” is how the Creed has it. TBC.
Proposed prayer: “Dear Father, I ought not, I am not entering into curious and subtle debates and arguments about where paradise is or where the thief spent the night when You pardoned him. I rest satisfied with the knowledge that those who are engrafted by faith into the body of Christ are partakers of that life, and thus enjoy after death a blessed and joyful rest, until the perfect glory of the heavenly life is fully manifested by the return of Christ. Thank You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”