Main Readings: Jeremiah 23.1-6; ‘Song of Zechariah’ (APBA p.10 or p.425) or Psalm 46; Colossians 1.11-20; Luke 23.33-43
Supplementary Readings: Psalm 68.1-18; Luke 19.29-40; Deuteronomy 17.14-20; Psalm 46; 1 Corinthians 15.19-28
“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23.43)
Growing up in Cairns, we were spoilt for wonderful places to go to cool off; crystal clear cold creeks flowing down from Queensland’s highest mountains. Lush rainforest shaded the still deep pools and chattering rapids. One such place, near Babinda, we called ‘Paradise’.
I was a teenager before I knew that wasn’t its real name. The root of the word Paradise implies the sense of a beautiful place enclosed. From outside the city, high on a cross in an arid place, Jesus said that he would be with a criminal in a beautiful place, enclosing him – hiding him in himself – in the eternal Kingdom of God.
In these Sundays after Pentecost we have been accompanying Jesus on his journey to Jerusalem and a common theme has been the startling number of people that Jesus has extended mercy too. Today, the last Sunday after Pentecost when we celebrate the reign of Christ the King, reveals this mercy again being extended to those on the very limits of life. This crucified King of Kings, still on his cross, spoke directly to the anguish of the convicted criminal beside him and his cry of “Jesus! Remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
The mercy of Christ is beyond limit and Jesus says to all of us who cry out to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”Jump to next article