Two other men, both of them criminals, were also led out to be put to death with Jesus. When they came to the place called ‘The Skull,’ they crucified Jesus there, and the two criminals, one on his right and the other on his left. Jesus said, ‘Forgive them, Father! They don’t know what they are doing.‘ (verses 32-34a)
Read Luke 23:33-43
As he was in agony on the cross, being ridiculed and mocked, Jesus still loved those around him. Although dying physically, he had compassion for those around him who were already spiritually dead and blind, as he cried out to his Father for their forgiveness.
In that cry is the essence of the cross – Jesus dying to give you life. When you are blind to your actions, inflicting pain on yourself and those around you, Jesus is right there, crying out for forgiveness on your behalf, paying the price for you. He also opens your eyes to see the death inside of you. As the criminal on the cross beside Jesus said, he was getting what he (and you) deserved. Jesus was not. Yet to you Jesus also turns when you cry ‘Remember me!’, and he promises that you will be with him in paradise.
Remember me, Jesus, when you come as king! As you die in my place, forgive me. Amen.
by Hanna Schulz in ‘God’s Peace for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 2005)
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