Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
When Jesus was crucified, he was not alone. He was abandoned by almost all his followers. The leaders of Israel mocked him. The soldiers abused him. Even one of the two people who were executed with him was insulting him. He was not alone at all. Rather, he was surrounded by scorn and hatred. Christians understand this to be part and parcel of Jesus bearing the sin of the world. Sin is an ugly thing and there was plenty to be poured out on Jesus. He went willingly to his death, never defending himself.
What glimmer of light do we find in the very somber events of that Friday afternoon? Jesus would not defend himself, but one of the thieves being executed did. He called out to Jesus for mercy and forgiveness, though he admitted his own sin and shame. What response did he receive from Jesus? A simple promise. He would join Jesus in paradise that day.
Jesus, by his death, gathers all who ask his forgiveness to join him in paradise. His promise was made, not only for the dying thief, but for all who call out to Him. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. His response is a declaration of mercy. His promise is true. His call? Come join me in paradise.
Thanks to Jesus, death’s power is broken. It is not a fearful thing to those who trust him. It is a time of hope and comfort. Though we die, yet we will live, because Jesus has gone before us into paradise. He is not alone. Neither are we.
If this brief meditation was helpful to you, I hope you will check out the other materials on our website at www.WittenbergCoMo.com and consider supporting us.