Summary: Those who relate to Jesus adversarially do not receive any response from HIM; those who request it receive from HIM assurance of existence in paradise.
Text: Luke 23:32-43.
Title: “Reservation in Paradise”
King James Version
32 And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.
33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.
36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,
37 And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.
38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
“Paradise”! There is less interest in spending eternity in paradise than had been present in previous generations. There is much greater interest in the “here and now”. Since “paradise” is somewhere else and sometime later, concern with reservations there fall somewhere after concentrating on the here and now.
Despite diminished interest on “Reservations in Paradise”, everyone in this gathering will have their earthly life come to an end. When your earthly life does end, what happens to you? Where do you have reservations in eternity?
Last week-end Trinity, Mrs. Vee, and I had reason to have made reservations for spending the night away from Mint Hill. We knew that reservations were needed. Information had been sent to us that assisted us in deciding where to make reservations. Though there was no question in the mind of anyone that reservations would be needed, it was our responsibility to take the actions necessary to have the reservations. And when I called to make the reservations, before the “good-byes” were said, I was given a confirmation number for our reservation.
Though there is no question that eternal reservations are needed for you, and though the information has been sent to assist you in making those reservations, it is up to you to take the necessary actions to reserve your place in paradise. Failure to do that, by you, is the equivalent of making a reservation in torment.
1. Reservation Requested. Vv. 42.
“Remember me when you come into power!”, pleaded one of the two who had been crucified with Jesus. This was the request of a man who was being executed by crucifixion. That does not seem so unusual. The request is made of one who is also being executed by crucifixion. “Remember me when you come into power!” Those are the words of verse 42, in the New International Version.
This reservation was requested in faith! As HE died on a Roman cross, there was a request that Jesus remember this confessing sinner when Jesus came in power. There was a request made in faith! He asked merely to be remembered. Jesus took the request to a level the thief needed.
This criminal confessed that he was receiving what he had coming. He knew that he was wrong. “HE didn’t do anything wrong”, he declared of Jesus to the mocking malefactor.
The King James has the dying thief call Jesus Lord. That dying thief rejoiced to see the fountain that would cleanse him of sin and give him a reservation in heaven.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s, a disco rock star, named Donna Summer, came to realize the importance of making a request for a reservation in heaven. In 1980, Donna Summer received three American Music Awards. “I want to thank God,” Donna Summer said to a national television audience. “I realized one day that I had everything I wanted and I wasn’t happy. Something was missing. No matter how much I got in material goodies, nothing was going to fill the gap. I became ill; I had pain everywhere. For one year I was in the hospital once a month. I thought I had a brain tumor or cancer. I had everything, I just did not have God.”
Donna Summer came to realize that, without Christ, things mean nothing. She requested Jesus’ forgiveness, accepting HIM personally. That changed her life on earth, and it changed her eternal destiny.