“Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise” – Luke 23:42-43 (NASB)
Today, our verse contains a Promise Jesus made to one of the two criminals being crucified at His side. One criminal on one side hurled abuse at Jesus the other asked to be remembered when Jesus came into His kingdom. Jesus promised; “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with me in” – what? – “paradise.” Some mistakenly say, paradise is a sense of limbo between life and resurrection. No. Consider how Jesus promised, “you’re going to be with me there today.” Wherever it is, if it has a physical location in our universe, it’s where Jesus is. Most everyone on earth longs to find “paradise”—a place of natural perfection, endless provision, no pain, no tears, no illnesses. In the beginning Adam and Eve lived in Paradise. At the end of history, there will be another paradise, the New Jerusalem. In Revelation 2:7 the Apostle John is told “To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.” The criminal on the cross next to Jesus who believed went to heaven immediately upon death. So it will be for every faith believer.
“This gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” – Matthew 24:14 (ESV)
We can rightly consider this a most inspiring missionary promise from Jesus. Not: should be preached. Not: might be preached. But: will be preached. This is not a great commission, it’s a great certainty. How can we be sure the church won’t fail in its missionary task? The grace of missionary service is as irresistible as the grace of regeneration. Christ promised universal proclamation because he is sovereign. He knows the future success of missions because he makes the future and sees it happen. A “nation” as used here is not a modern “country” in the way we use the word. When the Old Testament spoke of nations, we recall groups like Jebusites, Hivites, Amorites, Moabites, Canaanites, and Philistines. “Nations” identified ethnic and tribal groups with their own peculiar language and culture. We call them people groups, these days. As the sovereign Son of God and Lord of the church, Jesus simply applied His divine purpose and stated as an absolute certainty. World missions to proclaim the Gospel is assured of success. It cannot fail. Let us, then pray with great faith, invest with great confidence, go forward with a sense of sure triumph?
John Piper shared these words in a recent devotional:
“ He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” – Colossians 1:13-14 (ESV)
In our previous verse (Colossians 1:12) we read the promise of a share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. That is why we must today look at the promise that springs from that one. This inheritance is in the … light. Some translations (NIV) supply the words “kingdom of,” which are not in the Greek. Rather this light is the spiritual sphere to which believers have been transferred from the dominion of darkness. From this dominion, power, or authority of darkness We as believers have been rescued, and therefore delivered. Through Christ they were brought from a rebel kingdom and placed under the sovereignty of their rightful King. The sovereign Christ is here called his beloved Son. Through Christ, God’s “Loved One,” Christians have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Let’s emphasize that “redemption” means “to rescue by ransom.” Christ paid that ransom for us on the cross and in His resurrection. And, “forgiveness” means “remission” by the Redeemer. This is our joyful emancipation from darkness which we possess in the Light of our Savior only because of the tremendous cost Christ paid on the cross.
“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” – Colossians 1:13-14 (NASB)
Recently many thousands of people in the United States were in darkness because of no electricity. Don’t we all prefer being in the light to being in darkness? Being filled with spiritual wisdom and understanding of God, transforms our lives and rescues us from darkness. We are promised wonderful results by following God’s will. Two outcomes from a God-pleasing life are bearing fruit and increasing in knowledge (Col 1:10). Spiritual strength can be considered a third factor that results from knowing God’s will and pleasing Him (Col 1:11). Thankfulness, a keynote in our spiritual life, is a fourth result (Col 1:12). Plus, the promises in today’s passage. God transfers us out of the dominion of darkness which is the domain of Satan. It happens to us the moment we receive redemption and forgiveness from our life of sin and the stubborn rebellion which is sin itself. We now possess inheritance reserved for us in the kingdom of light which is Jesus Christ. We like particularly this word in verse 13, ‘rescued,’ which gives us the picture of being snatched out of danger and assurance that we are out of peril and are now safe and secure in God’s family.