Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Jesus leads with grace and follows with truth.
God’s number one priority is not punishment, it is forgiveness.
A sign was fastened above him with these words: “This is the King of the Jews.”
One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”
But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!
In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!
In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”
"When he finally came to his senses (literal translation, he remembered who he was), he said to himself . . . I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant”
And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.
“For this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’
His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’ ”
People get lost and stay lost until somebody cares enough to go and find them.
Religious people think they are better than sinners. Jesus doesn’t.
I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.