Jesus was asked by one of the thieves on the cross next to him,
"Lord! Remember me when you enter your kingdom!"That's all.... just "remember me". And to his astonishment Jesus goes far beyond his request to be remembered. He promises the man complete forgiveness of his sins and that he will enter God's kingdom that very day when he replies,
“Truly I tell , .” --Luke 23:43The man who had no hope at all when he was lifted on his cross next to Jesus now had the best hope anyone could ever have. I think the Pharisees down below must have been scratching their heads as they heard Jesus during his agony on the cross minister to this lost soul. Maybe they would recall Jesus own words earlier when he said to those who made exception to Jesus eating and drinking with "sinners",
"I have not come call the , but sinners to .” --Luke 5:32How much does this thief know of Jesus? Answer: hardly anything at all. Most of what he has learned came from the mockers down below. They yelled "insults" at him. Taunted him with his "claims" and probably quoted some of Jesus own teachings back at him. That's all it takes for the Holy Spirit to work. Even when the world mocks Jesus it inadvertently professes about him and performs an unintended spreading of the gospel. Yet despite the small amount of what he has learned in the few hours he has been placed next to Jesus he has come to accept him as "Lord". Simply amazing!
When Jesus sent out his disciples and they came back bragging about what they saw happen. They bragged to each other about how they saw the sick being healed and demons being pushed out of people. Jesus admonishes them and says,
However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your are . -- Luke 10:20We, also, get caught up in our own earthly "demon kicking" and need Jesus to remind us what really matters in the end. He reminds us that being "remembered in heaven" is so much more valuable than being remembered here on earth. I had a conversation with a co-worker on how it's so silly some of the verbal fights we see going on at our company over which vendor we should use for our work. I said to him, "There's not going to be a bronze statue of me standing outside our building in Folsom with me standing next to an emulator and pointing out into the distance! When I leave I will be forgotten along with all I have worked on too!".
As we make our way through this world we daily need Jesus gentle reminder of what is really important: "He will not forget us when we die but will take us to heaven to be with him forever"