The Promise of Paradise

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42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.”43 Jesus said to him, “I can guarantee this truth: Today you will be with me in paradise.” (GWN)

There is in Paris a famous picture by Zwiller called “The First Night Outside Paradise.” Our first parents have been driven out of the Garden of Eden and are preparing to spend the first night in the desert beyond. In the distance can be discerned the figure of the angel with the flaming sword, but the eyes of the exiles are not fixed on him. They are gazing far above his head, and there, outlined in light—faint, but unmistakable—the artist has painted a cross. In wondering awe, their gaze is fastened on it.—Leslie Weatherhead

What an awesome reminder of the promise Jesus made to the thief on the cross and to us as well.  That at the end of life’s journey we can look up and find strength in the power of the cross.  It may seem to some as an instrument of torture, but the Christian it is a symbol of how deep the Father’s love for mankind extends.  It extends all the way to the grave and victory is celebrated in the empty tomb.

When I survey the wondrous cross

On which the Prince of Glory died

My richest gain I count but loss

And pour contempt on all my pride

See from his head, his hands, his feet

Sorrow and love flow mingled down

Did ever such love and sorrow meet

Or thorns compose so rich a crown

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