With Me

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

Pete’s Ponderings: Everyone’s ideas of paradise are different. I see it in my grandkids,- God is present in a little child. The cross is the key .

Kevin’s chewings: When the Hebrew bible was first translated into Greek, the word Paradeisos was used by the Hebrews for the Garden of Eden. So, a more literal translation could be “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in the garden of Eden” This is an odd statement.  Perhaps it is not so much about a place, but a relationship with a person!  Where Jesus is, there is Paradise. 

Questions for reflection

  1. Compare and contrast the two criminals crucified with Christ:
    • What did the first criminal want?
    • What did the second criminal want?
    • What were the key differences?
  2. If being in Paradise is about being with Jesus, when did the second thief enter Paradise? (Matt 18:20)
  3. What could this mean for us today? (Especially in the messy and difficult places in life)
  4. Have you ever found yourself praying a prayer similar to the words that the first criminal uttered? (ie if you are God, do this for me) What could that reveal about what or who we really want?
  5. There is a continuous theme of ‘God with us’ in the Bible starting with the Garden of Eden, where God was with Adam and Eve. Take a moment to find several more examples of God with mankind in the Bible.  See if you can recall other verses where God promises to be with us?

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