What if you woke up one morning knowing it was your last day on earth? That’s what happened to the thief on the cross, who died a few feet from Jesus. Heaven, How I Got Here is his story, told in his own words, as he looks back from Heaven on the day that changed his eternity, and the faith that can change yours.
If you haven’t yet read Pastor Colin S. Smith’s short book, Heaven, How I Got Here: The Story of the Thief on the Cross , it is a very easy read. It is a story unlike any you’ve read. It was inspired by the story of the thief on the cross, found in chapter 23 of Luke’s Gospel. In writing the book, Pastor Colin tried to imagine the thief looking back on the last day of his life on earth from the perspective of his new life in heaven.
The story weaves together what we know from the Bible about the events of that day and views them through the eyes of the thief as he would have experienced them at the time, and as he can understand them now. If Jesus could save the thief a few hours before he died, there is lasting hope in Jesus, even for a person coming to the end of his or her life.
But think about his position on the day that he finds himself on a cross next to Jesus. He is at the end of his life (and he has not lived a good life), and there’s nothing he can do to improve it!
A lot of people have the idea that we get into heaven by living a good life, a religious life. They may believe that Jesus forgives, but deep down they feel that their progress in the Christian life is the key that will open the door of heaven. So, what is the thief to do on that basis?
- With his hands fixed to the cross, he can’t do any good works.
- With his feet nailed to a wooden beam, he can’t walk in paths of righteousness.
- With death only a few hours away, there was no time for him to turn over a new leaf.
What can he do? Religion cannot help him at this point in his life.
But Jesus can! This is the great importance of him turning to Jesus, a few feet away, and saying, “Jesus, would you remember me when you come into your kingdom?” And Jesus says to this man, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” So, Jesus is able to do for a person what religion cannot do. He is able to bring hope in a situation that would otherwise be utterly hopeless.
The story of the thief not only sheds light on the limits of religion, it is also a marvelous sample of what Christ is able to do for a person.
Heaven, How I Got Here: The Story of the Thief on the Cross is available from these retailers:
- Unlocking the Bible: paperback, audio
- Christian Focus Publications: paperback
- Amazon: paperback, audio, Kindle
- Christianbook.com: paperback
Colin Smith is Senior Pastor of The Orchard in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. His preaching ministry is shared through his daily radio program, Unlocking the Bible, and through his website, unlockingthebible.org. Colin recently authored the book Heaven, How I Got Here: The Story of the Thief on the Cross (Christian Focus). Connect with Colin on Twitter @PastorColinS.