Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
It was the fear of death, the unknown, the uncertainty that perhaps lead this guy to ask Jesus. It's one of those interesting passages for me. I lived for years, scared of hell, of death.
Worse yet, of failure. Of mediocrity. I feared being unworthy.
This guy was unworthy. He was already crucified, along side Jesus, for crimes he actually did. Moments before he was mocking him. He was already on his way out of his sinful life. It almost seems like he was hedging his bets... Instead of a loving life for God, where he sought out God's will, and then coming to face Jesus... It was a moment of fear, of desperation.
Yet Jesus accepts him. This criminal was the first... To enter Jesus' kingdom. As I think back on my life... I don't see myself as someone worthy of God's grace. I've broken most of the commandments one way or another. I've lived a selfish life. Yet, in the moment I was at my lowest, Jesus accepted me.
That is grace.