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You Don’t Have to Fear Death 
By Rick Warren

“‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.’ And Jesus replied, ‘I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.’” Luke 23:42-43 (NLT)

God’s mercy is something you’ll need your entire life, especially when you’ve messed up and when you don’t have what you need.

You need God’s mercy because of death.

Death is inevitable. We all are going to die at some point. The mortality rate in the world is still 100 percent!

Many people fear death, but God doesn’t want you to. In fact, he shows you how to not be afraid of dying.

Luke 23 tells of a dying man who received God’s mercy. You may remember the story: When Jesus went to the cross, he was hung between two criminals. The Bible says: 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’” (Luke 23:39-41 NLT).

One criminal made fun of Jesus and acted as if death is the end of life—but he was wrong. Death is the start of eternity, either in heaven or hell.

The other criminal said, in effect, “Don’t you realize the seriousness of your situation? You are about to go face-to-face with God in a matter of seconds, and here you are, putting down Jesus.” Then he turned to Jesus and said, Remember me when you come into your Kingdom” (Luke 23:42 NLT).

How did Jesus respond? “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43 NLT). 

Now that’s last-minute mercy! The thief realized his greatest need was forgiveness for sins, not relief from pain. And he knew he couldn’t save himself. So he simply said, “Remember me.” And Jesus said, in effect, “That’s good enough.” Jesus’ response showed that he even had power over death. 

When you accept the mercy of Jesus, you don’t need to fear death—all because of what Jesus did on the cross. 

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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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