Luke 23:39-43 (English Standard Version)
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Jesus has been mocked by Herod and his soldiers. He has been sentenced to death by Pilate, even though Pilate declared, “I find no basis for a charge against him.” Jesus has been stripped of his clothing, beaten, mocked again, and now hangs on a cross between two criminals, one of whom ridicules Jesus.
The criminal on the other side of Jesus, though, looks at Jesus and asks him to remember him when he enters his kingdom.
“What kingdom?” those standing around the crosses might have wondered. This man Jesus was about to die! What kingdom would he ever rule?
The second criminal somehow understood what the first did not: Jesus’ kingdom is not of temporary earth, but of eternal heaven. And Jesus promises him that this very day he will be with Jesus in Paradise.
What does it mean to you to worship the King of Heaven?