Gospel – November 24, 2019 – Luke 23:35-43
The rulers sneered at Jesus and said,
“He saved others, let him save himself
if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.”
Even the soldiers jeered at him.
As they approached to offer him wine they called out,
“If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.”
Above him there was an inscription that read,
“This is the King of the Jews.”
Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying,
“Are you not the Christ?
Save yourself and us.”
The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply,
“Have you no fear of God,
for you are subject to the same condemnation?
And indeed, we have been condemned justly,
for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes,
but this man has done nothing criminal.”
Then he said,
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him,
“Amen, I say to you,
today you will be with me in Paradise.”
It’s not surprising the rulers sneered or people in power (the soldiers). Jesus was always a threat to them and their power. Hanging on a cross – dying a physical death – of course the bullies and cowards would show up to ridicule the King. In their myopic view he’s been defeated.
What is surprising, somewhat, is the view of those hanging beside him. These are the ones he came for. Remember he didn’t come for the righteous but for the sick. This indicates what a difficult thing Jesus came to do. To die for us all – whether we wanted him, respected him or believed in him.
What might our response have been hanging beside Jesus that day? Like the one who wanted to continue in this world? Or the one looking toward Heaven?
At least that’s what I heard Him say…