With Jesus in Paradise
Posted by Phil Chadder, 2 Apr 2020
We continue to look at Jesus words from the cross in today's post from our Lent series, The Blessed Life.
Who on earth could belong in paradise?
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’ Luke 23:39-43.
He was now so sick that the Governor had approved the removal of his handcuffs. No longer were two Prison Officers required. One was enough, and he could wait outside the hospice room, allowing him to die with dignity. As the cancer had got its grip the prisoner had moved from his cell in HMP Brixton, to a hospital ward and now to a room in a hospice. It was the middle of the night and I sat on the edge of his bed as we looked out on the falling snow. The streetlamps lit the flakes as they fell and settled on the branches of nearby trees. ‘I’m scared’, he said. He’d long turned his back on the Christian faith of his upbringing. ‘Did you know that God could look on your life and see you as pure as that snow?’ I asked. He wanted to know how that could be possible. I explained. Later, I asked if he would like to pray the Lord’s Prayer with me. He said he would. Never have I heard, ‘Forgive us our trespasses’, cried out with such urgency.
The criminal on the neighbouring cross recognised how that could be possible on the first Good Friday. Despite his personal agony, he was aware that the man in the middle was the focus of the crowd’s attention. The local bigwigs had shown up to scoff. The military had their fun. Nailing him hadn’t been enough. Even the other criminal joined in the mockery. He had just enough time left to hurl some abuse and grab a final headline.
Posted by Ros Clarke, 1 Apr 2020
The Spring 2020 edition of Crossway is now on its way to Church Society members and other subscribers
It’s been a joy to put together this of Crossway with its international focus, seeing stories come in of what God is doing amongst his people all over the world. Although the work of Church Society is particularly focussed on the Church of England, we are glad to be in partnership with brothers and sisters across the world, especially those who are also part of the Anglican Communion. I hope this edition of Crossway will encourage and inspire you to keep praying for the worldwide church. Perhaps you might consider how you could do more to support one of the projects mentioned in the magazine - whether by committing to pray regularly, support financially, or offer other practical help.
Father, forgive them
Posted by Henry Scriven, 1 Apr 2020
Today we begin the last section of this year's Lent series, The Blessed Life, in which we turn to the words of Jesus spoken from the cross.
Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Luke 6:27-28 and 23:32-34.
Bishop J C Ryle comments: ‘It is worthy of remark that as soon as the blood of the Great Sacrifice began to flow, the Great High Priest began to intercede.’
We are indeed on holy ground and can only approach meditation on the cross of Jesus in silence, humility, and profound gratitude. For here is the heart of our salvation, the source of our forgiveness and our new life. So, before looking at the words of Jesus, it is only right to pause again and worship.