April 11 I Saturday
1 Samuel 17-18
“Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.’” —Luke 23:43
What an amazing thought from the opening verse of this devotion––Jesus entering paradise! The Son of God who for about 33 years lived on earth has returned to heaven. The physical death of Jesus, followed by His physical resurrection, proved to many who saw Him that life exists beyond the grave.
What is paradise? We find “paradise” is only mentioned two other times in Scripture. The first in Paul’s letter,
“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago…was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell” (2 Corinthians 12:2, 4). The second is in the Book of Revelation, “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7). In the last chapter of Revelation, we find that the tree of life is in the heavenly city of God.
One of the deepest fears of the human race lies in the question of dying. To some extent, we all fear death, and unless Christ’s second returns comes first, we will all pass through it. This is why Jesus tells us, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). There is no middle ground, no other way to be saved. Jesus also tells us, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3).
The moment we cross over from death to life, heaven is a promise to those in Christ.
Paul tells us, “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a
building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands” (2 Corinthians 5:1). The death of Jesus was a necessary means to an end in order that He may conquer sin and death itself. Paul also writes, “…but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10).
Until we have a relationship with Jesus Christ, we will never address this question of dying. On the first Easter morning over 2,000 years ago, Christ resurrected from the grave and when we believe Christ died for our sin, was raised again on the third day and indwells us––we will receive a glorious life beyond the grave.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You with all my heart for sending Jesus. He is my life and because of Him, death no longer has a hold on me. Amen!