Forty Days of Prayer March 29
In this season of Lent we have reached the focal point of what Jesus was leading up to in the events of Good Friday and the Cross. In the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John we have seven things recorded that Jesus said from the cross. The first of these are the words spoken even to the soldiers who crucified Jesus are here in the Gospel of Luke.
Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals–one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. (Luke 23:32-34)
I have heard it said you learn a lot about a person when you see them facing adversity. I think being crucified counts as an adverse situation in life. I can hardly think of anything that might be worse. In these first words of Jesus we find out what the whole purpose of the cross was with Jesus, forgiveness. You can imagine he was thinking of the soldiers who were only following orders and doing what they were told to do. You can also imagine He was thinking of the crowds in Jerusalem who were swayed by others to shout “crucify Him, crucify Him.” From all of His words you can even say that He was thinking of those who arrested him and led to Him getting this death sentence. The forgiveness of Jesus, in all of the Gospels is not bound to those you would expect but reaches out to all people.
The other thing I think about Jesus is His concern for those few disciples who followed Him to the cross, especially His mother. John was the only one of the twelve who was there and he records in his Gospel what Jesus said to him and to Mary, the mother of Jesus. He told His mother to look at John as a son and for John to look at Mary as a mother. The death of Jesus was meant to build new relationships of family. In fact Jesus looks at us as His brothers and sisters. The cross stands as part of the bridge of all history. Forgiveness is given and Jesus teaches us to pray father as he always does as the Son of God.
In Christ’s Service, Pastor Dave
Jesus, thank you for praying for all people and for each and every one of us. Thank you for giving Your life for each of us. Help us to see what makes this day Good, when everything about it brings tears. Remind us that our tears are temporary and that You promise to take away all of our tears forever. Amen.