“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” – Luke 23:34
As Jesus is in agony on the cross, his thoughts turn to not himself but God the Father and our sorry state. This is love. How often does our pain turn us inward? Often when we are in pain, we lash out at others. The reality of life is that most of us don’t know what we are doing. We often fail to truly understand each other or God. And yet, Jesus offers love and forgiveness.
Then the robber crucified next to him said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” -Luke 23:42-43
We often assume that the Kingdom of God is someplace in the distance after we die. However, When Jesus talks of the Kingdom, it is always in the present tense. What might the world look like if we lived like the Kingdom of God was here and now? That is Jesus. For the thief on the cross, he simply had to ask and Jesus graciously granted it to him. Are we bold enough to ask for ourselves?
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. -John 19:26-27
Jesus on the cross shows concerns for others rather than himself. He offers his brother and disciple a new mother. And his mother a new son. We too are adopted into the family of Christ at baptism, and we are not left alone. In the great cloud of witnesses, we are given new brothers, sisters, fathers, and mothers. This communion of saints walks with us on our journey of faith in Christ.
And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46
Yes, even Christ felt forsaken. There are times when we feel that God has abandoned us. There are times we feel abandoned by those around us. It is painful. Despite our experience, We know that God is the source of our salvation. We know that Joy will come in the morning because although Jesus is on the cross here, there is resurrection yet to come. Lament, Wail, Cry, Curse, you do not need to deny your pain. However, Remain in hope.
After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (to fulfill the scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. -John 19:28-29
We all thirst. Thirst comes in many forms. We thirst for physical things like water. We thirst for things like peace, justice. We often have a hard time finding a place to satisfy our thirst. We know that Jesus offers us living water when he encounters the Samaritan woman at the well.
An Orthodox priest was once asked, “If God is everywhere, Why is the Church necessary?” And he replied “Yes, God is everyone but so is water. Water is in the air we breathe but, we still must go to a well or stream. The church is that well.” What wells do we go to for water? We are reminded every Sunday through the means of Grace (Baptism and Eucharist) that God promises to be present. Let us not forget to come together and receive the water that quenches thirst and the bread that satisfied hunger: Jesus Christ.
He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. -John 19:30b
The Greek word for “It is finished” is Tetelestai. In Greek, tense can have profound meaning. When Jesus say “It is finished” it implied an action the was complete in the past but has implications for the present and future. Jesus’ act on the cross has a lasting impact for all of history. When Jesus cried out "It is finished," he meant "It was finished in the past, it is still finished in the present, and it will remain finished in the future."
Note one other fact. He did not say, "I am finished," for that would imply that he died defeated and exhausted. Rather, he cried out "It is finished," meaning "I successfully completed the work I came to do."
Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last. -Luke 23:46
Jesus breathed his last and trusted the Father. What does trusting God look like to you? Would you be willing to die in the trust? These last words of Christ remind us that we all need to die. We need to let go of our ego, our pride, our own way of doing things. When we let go and trust, new life can begin. What needs to die in you so something new can begin?
Posts from various People reflecting on How Christ intersects with daily Life.