[It’s in the Middle]
Historically, Jesus likes to show up in the middle. In the middle of the storm, in the middle of the night, in the middle of the battle, in the middle of a desert. He likes to be smack dab in the middle of things.
And in His last moments on the cross, it was no different. He hung there, literally right in the middle. With a thief on either side.
One of the thieves mocked him. Questioned His identity. Belittled His greatness. The other thief, however, had a very different reaction. This guy just humbly asks to be remembered.
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”.
Imagine the boldness that request took to make. To be hanging there, probably not having lived a very holy life, probably not knowing Jesus at all. But still – he asks for remembrance. He asks with hope of saving. He asks for the whisper of salvation.
And Jesus replies. “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise”.
Despite the thief’s failure and flaws and shortcomings and mistakes, he was promised to not only be remembered, but to be spoken of. To be offered a place at the table. To be given a VIP ticket. To be taken Home.
The thing is, Jesus promises us the same, each and every day. He promises salvation. He promises room for us in Heaven with Him. But, He also promises that the path to salvation is narrow. He promises it to be challenging. He promises it will not be easy.
The beautiful thing is the process of it all. It’s where the clay becomes the pot, where the dough becomes the bread, where life happens. In the process. In the valley after the mountain top. In the dark. In the night. In the middle.
This is where salvation happens. Right here, right now.
When Jesus died, He chose us. He intentionally gave us salvation, knowing how broken we would be. Knowing how many times we would deny Him. Knowing how much we would stray. Even still, He promises to remember us. He promises to take us with Him into paradise. We, like the thief on the cross, just have to be brave enough to ask for it. To invite Jesus in. To let Him break our bread. And to let Him lead us forward.