A Life Reclaimed

images-1Luke 23:42-43 “Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.’  Jesus said to him, ‘I can guarantee this truth: Today you will be with me in paradise.”

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 to 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.

That beautiful hymn during lent always brings me to tears.  I picture the sacrifice my Savior made on my behalf.  He hung on the cross when he didn’t have to.  To take on a punishment that wasn’t His.  Faced the anger and resentment of the crowds that should have been praise, all because he wanted to give me a life eternally that I didn’t earn.  All because of a deep and lasting love for me and for you.  Oh that wonderful cross, oh that glorious Savior.  Thank you, Lord Jesus.  Thank you because the life that was reclaimed was mine.

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