What an incredibly touching and intimate conversation we have the privelege to view between Jesus and the thief on the cross. The two thieves had come face to face with their wrongs and with death itself. One mocks out of his pride; the other humbly finds Christ.
The thief speaking with Jesus is dying. He has lived a life deserving his punishment on the cross, but certainly never expected to be crucified next to someone like Jesus. He realizes Jesus is innocent, and the more we look into the face of Jesus and see a glimpse of his holiness, the more we realize our sinfulness and feel a need to ask his mercy for our own sins.
"Remember me when you come into your kingdom." He is not striving for some last ditch effort to save himself. He is not asking for a sign like Herod did. He asks only that Jesus would remember him. That is enough.
We see a man who feels like he has completely missed out on life and feels the pain of loss here at the end, but there is something strangely comforting about this innocent man next to him. Jesus, too, dying and in pain, reaches out his heart to this man, "today you will be with me in Paradise."
We would all love to see more of the Dong people react this same way. We want to see this blindness to everything around them and a total focus on Christ. In the words of one young Dong believer who had been questioned and whose family had been harassed, "They told me this was all some false foreign religion, but I know what Jesus did in my life, and that is not false."
Pray first that Jesus Christ would grace many Dong with a similar opportunity. Pray that these Dong people, in the face of God who gave his life for them, would turn to him in repentance, seeking only to be with him. Pray that they, too, would pray, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.”