“Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, ‘If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.’ But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.’ “
The Holy Spirit brought this verse to my remembrance recently upon the sudden death of my Father-In-Law, Steve. He was only 69 but died of a heart attack. He had only been saved 10 years before and, after his death, the family talked about the glad night he was baptized. He became an exemplary Christian, getting very involved in service at his church and regularly reading the Word and asking questions about the new things he discovered.
In the verse from Luke, I was struck by the fact that once we accept Jesus as our Savior He will always “remember” us. We will never be forgotten. Even when we walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death God will be there with us. Everyone wants to be remembered for their birthday or anniversary or other special occasion and even in general by family and friends with a phone call or visit. But to know we are remembered by the Most High is a thrilling joy.
Steve’s death has put me in a reflective state. I wished I had told him more often that I loved him, even though he knew I did. He was always a quiet, kind, humble person and I was blessed to have known him. His death has inspired me to attempt, with God’s grace, to “remember” people more. Not easy for a very introverted person like me. However, we are called to love one another as God loves us (John 15:12) and this love includes showing an interest in and concern for all who come into our orbit.
At Steve’s death, God remembered him just as he did the poor thief on the cross, and Steve is now in Paradise. As I told the family, he would not come back if he could and we can take comfort in that. The same hope awaits all who trust Christ alone as their Savior as he will never forget those that come to Him.