Friday, September 23, 2016

Luke 23:32-38

Luke 23:32-38
And two other evil-doers were being led with Him to be killed.  And when they came upon the place – the one that is being called the skull – they crucified Him and the evil-doers there, in one case out of the right and in the other case out of the left.  And Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them, for they have not known what they do.”  And while dividing His clothing they threw lots.  And the people had sat while watching with their eyes.  And also the rulers were mocking while saying, “He saved others, let him save himself if this one is the Christ of God – the chosen one.”  And the soldiers also ridiculed him while coming to him, while bringing vinegar to him and while saying, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”  And an inscription was also upon him, “This is the king of the Jews.”

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

Naturally, Jesus is crucified among the criminals.  This would simply add to the public opinion that Jesus was deserving of this fate, even though we know that He was not.  Seeing that they had won, the religious leaders make it a point to show that they were right.  They announce that Jesus had saved others but was incapable of saving Himself.  They don’t think that perhaps Jesus is obediently following the will of the Father and that the Father would save Him instead.

Are you surprised by the arrogant short-sightedness of the people – especially the religious elite?  Do you ever see this kind of arrogance in the world around you in religious leaders?

Second Thought:

The secular authorities have nothing polite to add to this event.  Not only do they crucify Him, nailing Him to the cross and lifting Him up, but they also divide His clothing.  They mock Him.  They hang a sign over His head, using Him as a means to continue to infuriate the religious leaders.  They doubt His claim to be God’s Messiah.  The secular leadership of the world at that time rejected Jesus thoroughly.

Are you surprised that the secular leadership rejects Jesus?  Are you surprised by what the Roman soldiers do to Jesus as a part of their rejection of Him?

Third Thought:

In the midst of it all, Jesus pronounces His wisdom.  He could have said any scathing critique and people would have understood.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that His followers would have supported a scathing curse upon the religious leaders and the Romans.  Notice, however, that Jesus gives no such thing.  Jesus pronounces forgiveness.  This is honestly as it should be.  This completes the story.  We walked away from God.  We forsook His commandments and His ways.  He could have condemned us, but He came to forgive and make relationship possible.  In this moment, we see that God is consistent.  Even when judgment would have been expected, God offers up forgiveness.

What does it say about God that He can offer grace in a moment when wrath is expected?  How can you imitate this behavior in your life?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 23:39-43
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