“And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
Today’s verse passage is part of one of the most powerful narratives in all the Bible. As Jesus hung between heaven and earth, bearing in His body the sins of the world (2 Corinthians 5:15; Hebrews 2:9; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 2:2) the repentant thief beside Him, justly condemned for his crimes, suddenly saw the Lord differently. “Remember me,” pleaded the man whose eyes God had opened. To remember someone, in the Bible, often means far more than simply recalling some facts about that person. It often entails genuine heart involvement that comes to visible, practical expression. In the Book of Genesis for instance, we read that during the year-long deluge, “God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged” (Genesis 8:1). God was not simply recalling that the ark contained precious cargo. Rather, God was taking special care of all the living creatures on board that wooden vestibule between two worlds. Similarly, God remembered Abraham, and for His sake, his nephew Lot was spared disaster in Sodom (Genesis 19:29). God remembered Rachel and Hannah, visiting them and opening their wombs (Genesis 30:22; 1 Samuel 1:19). The psalmist celebrated the fact that though God had sorely punished His people for their continued sin and rebellion, He nevertheless “remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies” (Psalm 106:45).This is what the repentant thief desired, that the Lord would take special care of him. I suspect this man was reflecting on Psalm 25, a psalm of David. “Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses;” wrote the sweet psalmist of Israel, “for they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD” (Psalm 25:6-7). David continued, “For thy name’s sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great . . .Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins. Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred. O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee” (Psalm 25:11, 18-20). The Lord graciously responded to the faith of the repentant thief just as He responded to ours. Let us rejoice in our God, “Who remembered us in our low estate.” For truly, “his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 136:23). Praise ye the LORD!