Jesus' promise to the "thief on the cross" that he will be with Jesus in paradise speaks to our soul. Paradise is what all of us long for. We were banished from it, and we have since been longing to return. Jesus demonstrates that the way to return to the tree of life is not by the way we came, but through the tree of death that he hangs upon. As we identify with those who hung on crosses next to Jesus, we realize that their two responses are our options: ridicule or humble desperation.
In this series, we will explore the seven statements Jesus made while on the cross, just before his death. These words have been a traditional reflection for Christians during the season of lent for thousands of years. In them, we see the whole message of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Through the ideas of forgiveness, eternity, provision, despair, thirst, completion, and trust we see how Jesus' death becomes the turning point for all of God's plan of redemption. The mysteries expressed in Jesus' words are too deep to fully understand, but by reflecting on them, we can enter more fully into the central point of our faith: the death of Jesus the God-man on the cross.