*I posted this on Multiply last May 08, 2009. This was the reflection I gave when I was asked to be one of the speakers for the Seven Last Words on Good Friday 2009. Credit also goes to Mr. Mark D. Roberts. Trivia 1: When I practiced reading this and asked my dad to listen, I cried… this was somehow my way to say I’m sorry. My dad asked me if I will be able to read this in front of everyone and not breakdown. I answered, yes, I can manage, and I did. Trivia 2: I was the youngest among the speakers. Ako lang talaga ata ang bata. I was 21 when I became one of the speakers. My fellow speakers were in their 40s and up.*
“Truly I tell you; today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Na diaton mundo ahora manada umal balita. Double-dead meat sold in the market, Ebola virus, salmonella on certain food items, bombings, kidnappings, global financial crisis, global warming, unemployment, extrajudicial killings, graft and corruption, and war are just some of the bad news. It is depressing. Frustrating. Heart-breaking. Minsan mas gugustuhin na lang natin ang wag makialam; ang hindi manood o makinig ng balita upang hindi panghinaan ng loob at masaktan o kaya ay magalit dahil sa nangyayari sa bansa at sa mundo. Dol escuridad el ta gana ahora. Manada kita ta experiencia sufriemiento y dolor. Tiene vez siguro ta sinti kita dol nuay mas esperanza. Yet there is goodness. There is hope. There is a cure for sin. A cure that does not promise magical solutions but promises that the pain of sin is not the end, that when all this is over, when the suffering is finished that the final word is not torture and defeat but life — life springing out of the ashes, life transformed and fulfilled in Paradise. To the compassionate thief; to the one who could still recognize the good in the world; to the one who tried to comfort and protect that good; to the one who sought good — Comfort was given “Truly I tell you; today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Cuando clavao si Hesus na cruz, ya gangya con Ele el maga lideres y maga soldao. El uno del maga criminal crucificao hunto con Ele ya desprecia y ya insulta tamen con Ele. But the other crucified criminal sensed that Jesus was being treated unjustly. After speaking up for Jesus, he cried out, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk.23:42).
Jesus responded to this criminal, “Truly I tell you; today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk.23:43). The word paradise, from the Greek word paradeisos, which meant “garden,” was used in the Greek Old Testament as a word for the Garden of Eden. In Judaism of the time of Jesus it was associated with heaven, and also with the future when God would restore all things to the perfection of the Garden. Paradise was sometimes thought to be the place where righteous people went after death. This seems to be the way Jesus uses paradise in this passage.
Thus we have encountered one of the most astounding and encouraging verses in all of Scripture. Jesus promised that the criminal would be with him in paradise. Yet the text of Luke gives us no reason to believe this man had been a follower of Jesus or even a believer in him in any well-developed sense. He might have felt sorry for his sins, but he did not obviously repent. Rather, the criminal’s cry to be remembered seems more like a desperate, last-gasp effort.
With this passage we know that Our God is a God of mercy and love. His mercy exceeds anything we might imagine. Un ehemplo del misericordia del Señor ya dale canaton mira si Hesucristo por medio del parabula del prodigal son. The son said to him (his father), “Father, I have sinned against God and against you, I no longer deserve to be called your son” (Lk.15:21) Did his father turn his back on his son? Pinagalitan ba niya ang pasaway nyang anak? NO. Rather, when the father caught sight of him, he ran out to meet him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him (Lk.15:20). The father said to his servants: “Quick! Bring out the finest robe and put it on him, put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. Take the fatted calf and kill it. Let us eat and celebrate because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life. He was lost and is found. (Lk.15:22-24)
Tiene tamen un estudyante. An A-student. Ya estudya le embuenamente desde elementary asta college. Honor student le asta high school. Involved na extra-curricular activities asta college. It so happened na cuando 3rd year college ele ya tene aberiya. Nuay ele entra escuela sin permiso del disuyu maga mayores. Nuay ele entra escuela hinde por causa kay yan loko ele na “lovelife”; hinde por causa na bisyo. Sino por causa kay ya perde disuyu gana y ya sinti ele na hinde disuyu “calling” el disuyu curso. Yes, it may be the case, nuay man loko na “lovelife” o na bisyo, but still it was wrong. Mali el cosa le ya hace. Ta accepta le disuyu mali and she was sorry for it. Ya pidi le perdon. However, not everybody understood. Poco lang el ya entede conele. Aquellos lang quien ya experiencia igual suceso. Most of them did not and others would not. They only thought of the wasted money, time, energy and effort. Ta entende le. Tiene sila punto. Pero, el ta necesita le que ay entende conele, kay ele tamen ta sufri. Hinde ele el mal bata. Triste y dolorido le kay sabe ele na yan disappoint le disuyu mayores and they were hurt, too.
But, God is good. He is gracious. Ya dale El Dios conele open-minded parents; understanding parents. Igual na tata na parabula del prodigal son, ya recibi otra vez conele el disuyu maga mayores.
Though our situation is so different from the criminal who cried out to Jesus, we are nevertheless quite like him. Aren’t we blessed to have such a faithful, loving and merciful God?
Though we should make every effort to have right theology, and though we should live our lives each day as disciples of Jesus, in the end, our relationship with him comes down to simple trust. “Jesus, remember me,” we cry. And Jesus, embodying the mercy of God, says to us, “You will be with me in paradise.” We are welcome there not because we have right theology, and not because we are living rightly, but because God is merciful and we have put our trust in Jesus.
Before I end this I want to leave you with the following questions: Have you staked your life on Jesus? Have you put your ultimate trust in him? Alam mo ba na pag dumating na ang oras mo, makakasama mo Siya sa paraiso? Naniniwala ka ba? Ta cree ba tu na el Señor Jesucristo nunca ay olvida y abandona contigo basta llama tu Conele con todo corazon? Mosalig ba ta sa Ginoo nga walay bisan gamay nga pagduda?
Take time to pause and reflect. God bless us all.