“…And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
“First the criminal rebukes the other.
Then, he becomes another of Luke’s witnesses to the innocence of Jesus.
Then he speaks to Jesus.
Asking simply to be remembered.
He has barely met him. But as Luke had stressed, “if you only knew this man, even briefly, you would love him.”
Then, you hear the last words that Jesus speaks to a human before he himself dies. “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.”
When Jesus began his ministry, his first words promised release to captives. Now, as he is dying, his last words fulfill that promise.
This criminal is the only person in any of the Gospels, to address Jesus by his first name, without a qualifier.
As the late Scripture scholar Fr. Raymond Brown put it;
‘The first person with the confidence to be so familiar is a convicted criminal, who is also the last person on earth to speak to Jesus before he dies.’ ” The Little Black Book – Bishop Ken Untener
He just met him.
In the worst possible circumstances.
So if condemned man could find it in himself to simply call him “Jesus”, what could possibly be so challenging in our lives that would prevent us from doing the same?
He certainly knows each and every one of us.
Not just by name.
We should be on a first name basis with Him.
Because after all and no matter what:
Jesus does remember.