Posts Tagged “William Barclay”

35The crowd watched, and the leaders laughed and scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Chosen One, the Messiah.” 36The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine. 37They called out to him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38A signboard was nailed to the cross above him with these words: “This is the King of the Jews.”

39One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”

40But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you are dying? 41We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

43And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Luke 23:35-43 (NLT)

As we studied the passage of Jesus crucifixion our Bible study today, I was touched by two very special things that I didn’t know before. I knew immediately that I wanted to share them with you. The first came from this passage.

The soldiers, leaders and crowd were mocking Jesus as He hung on the cross between the two thieves. One of the criminals even chimed in. They were all bating Jesus to prove He was the Son of God by miraculously taking Himself off the cross. What a temptation that must have been at times as He hung there in agony.

I imagine Jesus took a bit of comfort from the thief who turned to Him and said “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.” Here was a man recognizing Jesus for who He was – a King who was soon to return to His Kingdom. Here was a man who was giving Jesus a final opportunity while on earth to accomplish His purpose – bring people to salvation. I think that Jesus was blessed by this man’s request.

Jesus in turn, blessed the man with the promise – the assurance – that he would be in paradise with Jesus that very same day. Now on a very simple, natural level, this was an assurance that the man would be released from the pain and agony of hanging on the cross. Sometimes crucifixions took days. Jesus was telling the man that this was not the case for him. His ordeal would end soon. But beyond that there was a very special promise. The word Jesus used that is translated “paradise” was an unusual one. It is only used three times in the New Testament and it’s not a Greek word, it’s a Persian word that means “walled garden.” Listen to what William Barclay says about the promise of paradise:

“When a Persian king wished to do one of his subjects a very special honour he made him a companion of the garden which meant he was chosen to walk in the garden with the king. It was more than immortality that Jesus promised the penitent thief. He promised him the honoured place of a companion of the garden in the courts of heaven.”

When I heard Phil teach that truth today I was close to tears. What a special blessing Jesus was promising the thief. He was saying “Friend, later today we will walk and talk together in my private gardens. I’ll tell you my secrets and we’ll enjoy one another’s company as we meander through the beautiful flowers and trees.”

Wow! What a promise. I have not thought of spending time in Jesus’ private garden with Him! I think of seeing Him on His throne and falling at His feet in worship. I think of dancing with Him at the marriage supper of the lamb. I haven’t thought of walking intimately with Him in His private garden. What a sweet picture that brings to my mind.

I am reminded of a favorite hymn of both my mother and my mother-in-law’s – In the Garden. My mother-in-law is enjoying that Garden with Jesus. Lord. God is so very good!

I think I’ll end this blog with that wonderful thought. Tomorrow I’ll share the second very special thing I learned today. But for now, meditate on spending time in the garden with Jesus for awhile!

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