The promise of paradise
Week beginning: 16th September, 2018 | By Jennifer McKelvin | London
And he said, "Jesus, remember me?when you come into your kingdom."?And [Jesus] said to him,?"Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in?paradise."Luke 23:42-43 (ESV)
Does the summer already feel like a long time ago? Is your tan fading and your energy supply sinking?
Overwhelmed by being back in the office, I find myself daydreaming at my desk about my dream destination: the fictional island of Saint Marie, home to the BBC's Death in Paradise. Sandy beaches, palm trees fluttering in the breeze, a slower pace of life; apart from a murder rate that rivals Midsomer, I want to be there, sipping mocktails with the sea lapping at my feet. It really sounds like paradise, right?
But the paradise Jesus promises is the ultimate destination. Like the thief on the cross, those who trust in Jesus can look forward to entering Heaven, to be reunited with our Father. The dwelling place of God: paradise indeed! Then one day Jesus will return, bringing in the new heavens and the new earth. And this new creation will be even more incredible than a daydream in Saint Marie, or a whole summer holiday in the Seychelles; this will last forever.
So as the new legal year gets underway, as our diaries get busier and our to do lists get longer, don't be nostalgic for your holidays past, but dwell on our ultimate destination. Keep your eyes focussed forward, to the true paradise yet to come.
And hath God sealed thee a patent of heaven, and dost thou let it lie by thee, as if thou hadst forgot it? Oh that our hearts were as high as our hopes, and our hopes as high as these infallible promises!
– Richard Baxter, Practical Works (1838)
1. Praise God that Christ's death on the cross has made us heirs of heaven; that we will enter God's dwelling place and worship Him.
2. Pray that we would not search for fulfilment in this fallen world, but would wait eagerly for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.