Luke 23: 32, 39-43 NRSV
32 Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him.
39 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding[a] him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah?[b] Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into[c] your kingdom.”43 He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Jesus, remember me. Please remember me each day as I make the choice to follow your footsteps and “walk in your way.” I am not able to do it perfectly, O Christ, but use the Holy Spirit to remind me daily about your nature and your sacrifice and your perfect love for me. The Syrophoenician (a Gentile woman) believed so strongly that Jesus listened to her pleading and healed her daughter. This was a pivotal scripture of the first healing of a non-Jew. Did Jesus come just for the Jews or for everyone was then, and is now, a major theological question. Jesus left us with this story to show that he came for everyone and for everyone to have life through him while on earth and after death. The woman with the bleeding had such deep faith that she took great risk to go out against the law into public and was healed by simply touching the outer robe that Jesus wore. Nicodemus changed his lifestyle and entire being through his personal experience with Jesus. How have you been changed through your personal experiences with the Holy One and His total sacrifice of Love?
Jesus, remember me. A simple criminal who was a “nobody” without family or friends recognized the truth of Jesus and begged to be remembered while both of them hung on that instrument of greatest torture – the Cross. The other criminal was lost in his non-faith and brokenness and could not accept Christ so that he remained just a criminal who hung to death on a cross.
Jesus, remember me. I have done wrong and I deserve punishment. I beg you to love me and forgive even me in my life of hurting others and breaking the Ten Commandments. Through the Spirit, I see the Light you have brought to the earth and I humbly ask to receive the gift of your blessing and forgiveness. Even though I do not deserve it, I realize you love all who accept you. Jesus answered, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” That promise is for all of us, for all time and forever. As we confess and ask, Christ cleanses us and promises us to be with him in Paradise.
Prayer: Dear loving Christ, Son of God, be with us and use your Light to make a way for us to follow you. Forgive us for all the words and actions and thoughts that have hurt others and ourselves and been of the dark and not of the Light. Make us ne, and grant us the strength to follow you by loving you and others, and in making little sacrifices that will show others the Way and help them find a relationship with you. Amen.
Rev. Sharon A. MacVean