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Friday, November 22, 2019

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Jesus undergoes great suffering on the cross. Humanity crucifies God's Son alongside criminals and common thieves. He is accursed and rejected. Yet, in his agony, his heart broken, his undying mercy shines forth.

Jesus attends to those dying beside him. One of them derides him sarcastically. The other, repentant, admits what he has done and somehow dares to ask Jesus to remember him on the day of his glory, when Jesus comes into his reign. And Jesus, no doubt moved by the man's faith, extends mercy to him and comforts him in turn. He gives him a wonderful promise -- a promise seemingly greater than any other made by Jesus in his lifetime.

We cannot know what Paradise is like. Eye has not seen, nor has ear heard what it will be like to be in the presence of God (Isaiah 64:4). But one thing we do know -- we will be with Jesus. And that is all we need to know.

Gracious God, I know that by my own actions I could never earn a place in your kingdom. But you have shown me indescribable mercy. Lead me and guide me, until one day I can thank Jesus my Savior face to face. Amen.

Chris Cowan, '14
Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Ogden, Iowa

Luke 23:33-43 (NRSV)

33 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.
34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." And they cast lots to divide his clothing.
35 And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!"
36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine
37 and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!"
38 There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews."
39 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!"
40 But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
41 And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong."
42 Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
43 He replied, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.