Reflecting on Luke 23:35-43
We should have seen it coming from the beginning. One year ago we rotated into Luke’s Gospel, and if we’d paid attention we would have noticed it then, right there in the second chapter. But we were distracted by the glorious account of the angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary, and those shepherds running up to Bethlehem to see the things that had come to pass.
We should have seen it coming, this horrible, terrifying death on a hill. The day he came into Jerusalem on a colt, with his followers singing hosannas, should have jolted our memories. Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven! They were singing just what the angels sang on the night of his birth! Something destined from before all things was now unfolding before our eyes.
The King of Kings lies nailed to a cross. He struggles, he cries, he writhes in agony. And now we remember the prophet Simeon as he held the baby Jesus in the Temple: And Mary, a sword will pierce your heart too. Ah. We knew this was coming all along.
But now, grace enters into the heart of one crucified next to him. The torture of the cross opens up a place that has grown hard in his heart. In his last moments he recognizes the image of the invisible God, Christ himself, who came into the world to deliver us from darkness. Jesus! he moans. Remember me when you come into your kingdom!
The crucified King promises paradise to him this very day. And we who, at this distance of two thousand years, know the end of the story, wait in joyful hope at the empty tomb.
Sharing God’s Word at Home:
At what times of your life have you begged Jesus to remember you?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).