READ Luke 23:26-43
I shudder to think of that dark crucifixion hour. The One who spoke the hills into formation carried His cross up to its resting place. The One who made the trees laid His body down on boughs shaped into a cross. The Mind that conceived of iron and stone was punctured by nails formed to shame and kill criminals.
Jesus, the Word made flesh, is strung up on a cross for all the world to see. A shameful death, often reserved for the worst criminals and political traitors, is the death assigned to the Lord of all creation.
I have often wondered why Jesus didn’t come down off the cross. Though my theology knows better, I still read this passage and ache for Jesus to prove His power. As the voices of the soldiers assigned to oversee His death sarcastically cry out with feigned respect, I want Him to show the world that He is the King. I long for Jesus to display His true power.
And in this desire I give myself away. I reveal that I measure kingly power in terms of prowess and resilience. But the true King, Jesus Christ, reveals the power of God wrapped in the humility of suffering – not by getting off the cross, but by staying on it.
Two people call out to Jesus while He is on the cross. Who are these two people, and what do they say to Him?
Jesus only responds to one. How does He respond?
In the midst of His suffering, Jesus does what He came to do: He forgives. As He hangs on the cross by which He will reconcile me and you to Himself, He extends forgiveness and grace to a criminal who looks to Him, and He opens up eternity to fellowship with Him.
Friends, this is the power of God! As Christ was humiliated, mistreated, and crucified we see the glorious power of God. Through the death and coming resurrection of Jesus, the way is paved for you and me to enter into fellowship with God. Forgiveness is made available to a world that walks in darkness: to the soldiers, criminals, and onlookers – and to you and me.
Thank Jesus that He endured the cross for your sake. Praise Him that He made a way for our sins to be forgiven through His suffering.