Day 32: You Will Be with Me | 40 Days of Focus
“You will be with me in paradise”—words we would be delighted to hear from the lips of Jesus; words that thrilled the heart of the dying thief on the cross beside Him. In an instant, he was transported from the realm of a condemned, hopeless criminal—moments from an eternity in torment even beyond what he was experiencing on the cross—to the status of a man who had the hope of a blessed eternity within his grasp.
There is no clearer picture of the meaning of grace than this thief. He surely did nothing to deserve heaven before this moment. And he certainly could not do anything to earn it afterward, as death was only a few hours away. But we must understand that this scene is not just a portrayal of his salvation; it is a picture of our own. We are all condemned for our sin, hopeless, assured of an eternity in torment and separation until grace takes hold of us. At that point, we go from death to life, hopeless to certain, all the while never meriting it in the least—just like the thief.
And like him, we then hear the glorious words, “You will be with me . . .” We may have a bit longer on this earth than the thief (we never know), but while we are here, the promise of His with-ness is still a reality. We get to experience His presence here until the day when our with-ness is face-to-face in heaven.
- How often do you pause to remember your status before you were saved: “without hope and without God.” Think about where you’d be without Jesus.
- Now consider Jesus’ words, “You will be with me.” Does it capture you with wonder that this is your destiny as one of His redeemed?
Lord, there is no way we would ever deserve to be with You. It is only a work of Your grace. We shudder to think of where we would be without Your mercy and forgiveness. Thank You for saving us—for reaching out to us when we were helpless and hopeless, and drawing us to Yourself.
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries