“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Luke 23:42
1. Asking means you don’t pretend to be righteous.
The thief does not pretend that he is really a good person: “We are receiving the due reward of our deeds” (23:41). He does not say, “Well, I have done some bad stuff in my life, and nobody’s perfect, but I have some things to commend me as well!”
This man asks Christ with honesty and humility. He faces the fact that he is a sinner. He has sinned against God and against his fellow man. And the Bible makes it clear that every single person on the face of the planet is in the same position. That’s why Jesus was on the cross.
2. Asking means you don’t try to make a deal.
We don’t like to ask; we prefer to do deals. “Here’s something I can do for you; and there’s something I’d like you to do for me.” One thing you never want to do when negotiating is come to the table empty-handed. But that is exactly the position of the thief. All he can do is turn, like a beggar, to Jesus and ask.
Our first instinct is often to think in terms of a deal with God: “If I give you my life… If I go to church… If I pray… Then you will save me and get me into heaven, right?” But you don’t have a deal, because the only covenant God signs is the one he writes himself. Asking means that you come to Jesus empty-handed, knowing there is nothing you can offer to him.
Have you ever tried to make a deal with God instead of going to him empty-handed?