This fresh set of Daily Devotions is being provided for our LCA/NZ family, friends and visitors to help us to keep our eyes on Jesus as we face unsettling times. They can be used by families and individuals as part of the LCA/NZ’s Church@Home resources to encourage us and build trust in our Heavenly Father during this season of uncertainty and physical isolation.
by Pastor Chris Mann
This is the sixth in a series of seven devotions on the theme of Seven Great Stories to Tell One Day.
Click here for your printable verse to carry with you today.
Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise’ (Luke 23:43).
In the midst of this Coronavirus pandemic there are lots of stories of pain, sorrow and heartbreak. But in the midst of the stories of pain are great stories – stories of healing, hope, and love. Now that we are on the other side of Easter, we can look back and see some of the stories that we may have skipped over in the crucifixion of Jesus. And because he lives in us, his story becomes our story.
One of the stories I think we all struggle to live out is the story of Jesus embracing a relationship with the criminal on the cross.
You will remember that Jesus has one criminal mock him, and the other defends Jesus. In response to the criminal’s request to be remembered, Jesus declares that they will be together in paradise.
Jesus embraces the life of the criminal in two senses: the first, Jesus joins him in the same earthly consequence; the second, Jesus has the criminal join him in paradise.
Changing times give us a great opportunity to embrace the changes Jesus leads us to. One of the changes Jesus would always have us make is to embrace people who are so different that we wouldn’t embrace them, without the love of Jesus.
Let’s embrace who Jesus wants to embrace during this time, those beyond our normal church or social groups.
Let the story be told of how every person and every congregation embraced people who were not normally part of their lives and part of their community. Let the stories be of us joining them in their life, so that they could join us in paradise.
Heavenly Father, help us to embrace those different to us, those we wouldn’t normally associate with, and help us to see that you are calling us to join them, and them to join us. Amen.