Have you ever come across someone who was really bold, but not necessarily in the good way? It's the person you agreed to give a ride to, and along the way they ask you if they can make a second stop. It's someone asking for money and then you watch them spend it on something they didn't need. It could be the child who comes to the dinner table and announces why they don't like what you cooked. Maybe it is the people who refuse to help, yet criticize the work being done.
The nerve of some people, right?
It's the guy being crucified next to God. This guy being crucified for being a thief. Yeah, the guy who, according to Roman rule, deserved to be there. We're given no indication that this guy, this thief, had anyone there who was about to miss him. That guy. He turns to Jesus and asks if he can get into Heaven.
Do you believe that?
The only thing more incredible than his request is the answer he receives from Jesus.
Are you kidding me? I feel bad asking God for a day without any garbage. That request comes from me when I feel like I'm in some sort of place to ask it. You know, like after I've attended church, read my Bible and said something encouraging to someone. (Don't even get me started on how messed up that kind of thinking is.)
This guy on the cross next to Jesus has some boldness. If I was the kind of guy who had some sponsors, this might be a perfect place for some product placement, maybe a chip company who believes they offer bold flavor. But I digress. This request takes guts.
What makes the request even more unbelievable is that this guy on the cross understands his predicament. He is just finishing his reprimand of the third guy on the cross, someone who clearly didn't believe Jesus had what it took to answer any questions, much less requests about the after life. This is what he says;
'We're up here because we belong here. But Jesus did nothing wrong. Hey Jesus! I just got an idea. Could I come with you into Heaven?'
Seriously? Bold. You can almost imagine Jesus looking over at the guy and responding with, "Are you serious? I'm dying over here." But, of course, He doesn't. Because He's Jesus. The thief asks a bold question and Jesus gives a bold answer. 'I tell you the truth. Today you will be with me in paradise.'
The nerve of asking this question, at that moment, almost feels like a sin. Perhaps the greater sin is that I, in all my understanding of a God of grace, choose not to make such bold requests.