39 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!” 40 But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? 41 We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” 43 And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Jesus was in a great amount of pain after being beaten, tortured and suffering nailed to a cross. A criminal being crucified next to Jesus started tormenting Him, but the other criminal who was also being crucified took up for Jesus and asked the other man if he didn’t fear God? The man asked for Jesus to remember him. In the midst of Jesus’ pain and suffering Jesus gave comfort to the God fearing criminal by saying, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
There were three different men suffering and dying on a cross. One criminal wanted to lash out at Jesus because of his own pain. It is so easy to strike out when we are in pain. We want to inflict on others the same suffering we are going through. Much like an animal who has been wounded they turn on anyone who might be trying to help them. The other criminal wanted to comfort Jesus because he realized Jesus was sharing his pain. The man asked Jesus that He might remember him showing his faith in Christ. Jesus in His suffering and pain gave comfort back to the God fearing criminal. Jesus gave him the promise and hope of being in paradise with Him. There are many groups that come together to share pain. AA has members who support each other in their alcohol struggles. Cancer groups give each other comfort as they share the same affliction reminding each other they are carrying the same burden in hope. Paul gave us several words on encouraging each other through pain. Hebrews 3:13, “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today”, so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” 1Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you are also doing.” And finally in Romans 15:5, “Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus.” Instead of letting your pain torment you and others let it be an encouragement to those who need to hear words of comfort.