One of the criminals, a thief, who was crucified with Jesus, said to him, “Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom (Luke 23:42)”. Somehow he knew Jesus’ name and that Jesus had a kingdom!
Was Jesus that famous? Did everyone in Jerusalem know about him? Perhaps it was because of the sign above Jesus that Pilot had ordered placed there. The sign declared, “Jesus, King of the Jews”.
In another gospel, it states that, “And the robbers who were crucified with [Jesus] also reviled him … (Matthew 27:44).” Either the two gospels are inconsistent, or there was a transformation in one of the thieves. He went from reviling Jesus, to, in effect, asking his forgiveness. He realized his sin and that he deserved punishment, whereas Jesus was innocent (Luke 23:39-41).
It is interesting to imagine how “the good thief” came to this conclusion. He may have known something about Jesus before the time of execution. Or, perhaps observing how Jesus bore his own suffering, he realized that Jesus was not just a man, but God also.
The cross of Christ is a paradox. How can something so painful be good, and even holy? Perhaps the more you love others, the more you will suffer. Yes, there will be times of joy, but let’s face it: often, it hurts to love.
Because you cared about others, but often they misunderstood you, or they felt threatened by your love, you suffered. Or, you suffered when you saw your loved one suffering. Or, you see their bad choices, but cannot make them change. Then you must wait and pray and trust that God may change their hearts.
I am a part-time gardener;
this reflects some of my experience.
I came upon a jungle ,
‘Twas hiding near a shed.
The vines o’er trees did tumble
And many vines were dead.
The dust was thick — caused coughing,
The dead leaves dense beneath;
The vines o’er shed were tumbling,
The sunlight they did seek.
Perhaps the vines were ancient,
Some dead and some alive;
A canopy they plaited;
O’er tree and shed they twined.
I hacked away, just thinking
The light I soon would see,
And cut blackberries underneath
On which no fruit could be.
What wonder! — I did notice
A rose beneath a vine,
And which privets obfuscated —
Still a true plant sublime.
So if you have blackberries,
Some privets, and some vines,
Just know that in the future
A jungle you may find.
The lumpectomy surgery was successful!
The one lymph node they removed was cancer-free, halleluia! But, they did find some cancer on one of the margins, so I’ll have another shorter surgery, scheduled for 11/30/2018, to remove those cells.
Radiation will perhaps start in early January.
The King is coming in mighty pow’r
We do not know the day nor hour
He’ll ride upon the thund’ring clouds
Midst lightning flashes and angel choirs
No longer will sin darken hearts
All sin away — its curse departs
In shining brilliance, true majesty,
The King is coming — all darkness flee!
When the forgiven learn to forgive,
When the poor give everything away,
When the broken learn to mend,
That’s when Jesus has his way.
When the striving let go,
When the conflicted surrender,
When we befriend our foes,
Then our hearts become tender.
When all seems to be defeat,
When expectations don’t meet,
When sorrows grow, with tales of woe,
Then our victory is near.