Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, ‘If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.’ But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly,
I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.’ —LUKE 23:39–43
Will Graham’s Devotion:
This day, Easter Sunday, is important for one reason.
It’s not about candy, bunnies, or having a delicious meal with your family. Those things aren’t bad, and if you’re enjoying them today, I hope you have a blessed time.
The reason today matters is because of Christ’s resurrection from the tomb.
As we’ve detailed over the past few weeks, Jesus was betrayed, put on trial, wrongfully convicted, mocked, beaten, and executed in the cruelest of fashions.
He died, paying the debt for our sins, and was placed in a tomb. 1 John 2:2 says, “And He Himself is the propitiation [atoning sacrifice] for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Three days later, in the most pivotal event in human history, Christ rose again! The grave could not hold Him. He conquered death once and for all.
“‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55–57).
The cross represents a new beginning, a fresh hope. Though the Bible says that sin separates us from God (Romans 3:23), we’ve been given the gift of eternal life in Christ (Romans 6:23). As we call upon His name for salvation, He takes all of our sin, shame, guilt, and sorrow, and gives us a new life in Him.
If you have placed your faith in Jesus as your Savior—if you’ve repented of your sin, sought His forgiveness, and made Him the Lord of your life—there is no longer any sting in death. There is no more guilt in sin. You have been washed clean. Like the thief on the cross, you will one day be with Jesus in Paradise.
My friends, Jesus died but rose from the grave. As you read this, you may be spiritually dead, but you can be made alive today. You just need to accept the gift of salvation that Jesus offers through His sacrifice and resurrection. It’s Easter morning. There’s never been a better time.
If you would like to follow Jesus, here’s a prayer that you can use to help express your feelings:
Dear God, I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will. I pray this in the Name of Jesus. Amen
If you prayed that prayer and chose to follow Jesus, you are now a child of God! Please visit PeaceWithGod.net to learn more and to let us know about your decision. We’d love to help you grow in your faith.
Wherever you are, thank you for spending the last several weeks with me through this devotional. I pray that you will have a blessed Easter with your family and friends. Praise God for His infinite mercy and profound grace.
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I want to reach the world with the Good News by equipping the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association with resources — including personnel, materials, support services, buildings and more — to urgently respond to every opportunity to share Jesus Christ with others.