draft-the third thief, after easter 3
Luke 23:39-43 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
‘One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”’
Corinthians 9:15 New International Version (NIV)
‘Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.’
Jesus is always with sinners and Pharisees; lepers and wedding quests; the hurting and those who quest. He is always near, by ‘bottoms’ and the outcasts. Even at his death moment on Our cross, he is with thieves. And what do those on the ‘bottoms’ desire?
A thief speaks for me, for us, and asks ‘ Jesus remember me….’Luke 23:41
With all my failings and thefts, with all my hurts and joys, I desire someone to hold me safely, to remember – me. I desire Jesus’ thoughts. To be remembered.
Eternal salvation is tied into memory. From the movie ‘Remember the Titans’ to Remembrance Day in the U.K. and the musical ‘Carousel’, all of us desire in some way to be Billy Bigelows and thieves of time. If remembered, we control time. But we can’t humanly control the present; forgot controlling about future. Until…
….this third thief.
And because of this third thief we can steal time. The future; present and especially the past. Jesus, the third thief, steals from the evil one the power of troubling thoughts of life’s meaning: why am I here? do I have purpose? Will she, He, my children or grandchildren remember me? Does my past doom me?
These questions could have had ultimate power over us. How? They hint at a possibility that our lives and who we are do not matter. But they do …
because of him,
Jesus redeems our lives; our memories; our times. He is our Bilbo, a burglar who takes from the evil dragon Smaug. He steals back for Dwarves their memories, their past, and their futures.
And this is what Jesus steals back for us.. He promised the thief beside him that ‘together’ they will that very day me in paradise . So Jesus promises us the same as thieves. Eternal life and memory. A home. Why?
Because thieves matter. The homelessness of a cross by Jesus’ theft becomes a home. A thief’s home.
This is why Jesus lived and walked; laughed and cried with us: to create a safe eternal home from a stark and splintered cross.
Jesus cares for …
all feelings, all people, all -matters . He is home.