“Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.” … “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”
On the cross, one of the criminals was surprised that Jesus would be on the cross suffering; it didn’t seem to jive with the savior he made himself out to be. This criminal wanted to see Jesus work a miracle that would set both of them free. As the Divine Son of God, Jesus must have had the power to do that, but that would not have fulfilled God the Father’s plan. Jesus showed himself to be a different kind of king, a different kind of leader, by accepting suffering as the way to new life for others.
He also gave new hope by promising the other criminal that he would indeed be in paradise with Jesus, after they both passed from this world into the next world, where Jesus’ kingdom, power and glory would be fully revealed and solidly intact.
In our own lives we can show others that Jesus’ kingdom is indeed active even today, when we allow him to reign in us and through us, inspiring us to serve one another through love. Our celebration today gives us new hope and reminds us to persevere in faith and hope. In this way, we help to prepare ourselves and others for the final Kingdom of Christ which is yet to be fully revealed.