Alexander Smellie, “The Hour of Silence” 1899
“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!”
“Twas a thief,” Robert Browning writes, “who said the last kind word to Christ.”
In the morning the thief was OUT of Christ:
far from God and far from righteousness,
the helpless captive of sin,
the child of despair and death.
At noon the thief was IN Christ:
remembered graciously by the Savior of the lost,
redeemed with an everlasting redemption,
endowed with the new heart,
and freely and perfectly justified.
In the evening the thief was WITH Christ:
gazing on the glories of paradise,
safe at home with his good Shepherd and adorable Redeemer.
What a crowded and memorable day this was in his history! So much was pressed into these few hours. Such a glorious and unprecedented transition they brought, from the cruel cross–to Heaven’s glory!
OUT of Christ,
then IN Christ,
then WITH Christ!
Hopelessly lost in the far country,
then safe under the Savior’s wings,
then beside the Lord on His glorious throne!
Are these the three stages in my spiritual biography?
I know the first only too well.
Am I growing more and more familiar with the second?
Is it my joy to look forward to the third?
“I ask not the favor given to Paul,” Copernicus said, “I seek not the grace bestowed upon Peter–but I beg the mercy granted to the thief on the cross!”
The Song of the Glorified has Three Notes in It:
“And they sang a new song: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because You were slain, and with Your blood You purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation! You have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth!” Revelation 5:9-10
1. There is the note of Redemption. You purchased me with Your blood. Jesus ransomed me–the slave of sin, of frailty and futility, of dark despair! And not by a mere act of sovereignty and might. No–but by breaking the alabaster vase of His unblemished body for me, and by pouring forth the costly ointment of His blood. It will be the theme of my praise through the unending years of eternity!
2. There is the note of Royalty. “You have made us kings!” O wondrous thought to quicken the torpid pulses of my soul! I will sit down with Him on His own throne, and He will share His great empire with me!
3. There is the note of Consecration. “You have made us priests!” I am, through Jesus Christ my Lord, a white-robed, white-souled worshiper, thanking and adoring God, offering to Him the incense of prayer, presenting to Him continually the sacrifice of my praise, lifting up holy hands in ceaseless intercession!
Jesus has done it all!“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Revelation 5:12