I Tell You This: Today You Will Be In Paradise With Me

The second sentence of Jesus Christ on the cross

Tina S
Tina S
Apr 5, 2010
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Luke 23:39-43 -- One of the criminals hanging there threw insults at him: "Aren't you the messiah? Save yourself and us!" The other one, however, rebuked him, saying: "Don't you fear God? Here we are all under the same sentence. Ours, however, is only right, for we are getting what we deserve for what we did; but he has done no wrong." And he said to Jesus, "Remember me, Jesus, when you come as King!"  Jesus said to him, "I tell you this: Today you will be in Paradise with me."

Jesus is crucified between two thieves. But later some Evangelists suggested that one was a freedom freighter. In Luke's Gospel, one of them supports Jesus' innocence and asks him to remember him when he comes into his kingdom. Jesus replies to him using his set formula for important sayings: "Truly, I say to you...". Then follows the only use of the word "paradise" in the Gospels (παραδείσω, paradeisō, from the Persian pairidaeza). As this is the word used in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) for the garden of Eden, Jesus may have meant a return of humanity to the presence of God. However, it is traditionally meant to refer to the abode of the blessed dead. Perhaps, it can be read that the thief's own confession of guilt opens the way to forgiveness of sin.

The correct punctuation of this verse is the cause of some debate. Protestants believe the verse, as punctuated above, rules out the existence of purgatory. Catholics, who believe in purgatory, say the comma belongs after the word today: "Truly, I say to you today, you will be with me in paradise." Jehovah's Witnesses and others who believe in an interval between death and paradise also accept the latter punctuation. Biblical Greek, the language of the text, had no punctuation, so the original text is ambiguous.

Luke’s account shows that a thief, being executed alongside Jesus Christ, spoke words in Jesus’ defense and requested that Jesus remember him when he ‘got into his kingdom.’ Jesus’ reply was: “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.” (Lu 23:39-43) The punctuation shown in the rendering of these words depends on the translator’s understanding of the sense of Jesus’ words, since no punctuation was used in the original Greek text. Punctuation in the modern style did not become common until about the ninth century C.E. Whereas many translations place a comma before the word “today” and thereby give the impression that the thief entered Paradise that same day, there is nothing in the rest of the Scriptures to support this.

Jesus himself was dead and in the tomb until the third day and was then resurrected as “the firstfruits” of the resurrection. (Ac 10:40; 1Co 15:20; Col 1:18) He ascended to heaven 40 days later.—Joh 20:17; Ac 1:1-3, 9.

Human beings expect to be mobile. We expect the day to begin and to end. We start a project in order to finish it. It’s who we are. Freedom is a right to do just that. Regardless of situation, we can see ourselves out of it. If we are poor, we see ourselves rich. If we are wealthy, we dread poverty. And with willpower, we act to assure it as best we can. We may be wrong, but we are sincere. 

The Good Thief was both. He had done wrong and was paying the price. And he was sincere in his assessment of it. His regret and his hope were brought together in his desire. And the second word from the cross became his goal and his assurance. Paradise may not have been his destination but it was his goal. His cross was his reward and his revelation. 

But up close and personal, it is quite different. We can easily tell a creature from another planet why we exist and how we exist. In the mirror we have another story. Our fragile souls need to know what does not yet fall within our grasp. We fear that what we have perceived thus far is not accurate. Regardless of the wisdom from those we esteem, we find way to redefine what has been written on the human heart. We even cry out to the God who made us that He remember us. 

The second sentence says that the we are best directed when we know, love and serve God in this life and can look to a happiness with Him forever in heaven.

For all who seek Paradise, it is here by this tree of paradise and nowhere else. 


Author's note: Ref:The Holy Bible.
Keywords: second sentence,Jesus,Christ,Luke 23:39-43 ,“the firstfruits”,paradise,God,heaven,good Friday,persean,insult.

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