“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom,” said the second criminal crucified beside Jesus.
Look at Jesus from the two criminals’ points of view. Don’t assume they knew anything else about him than what they experienced as they were being crucified together. What led one criminal to yield to Jesus and to acknowledge him--a man naked, humiliated, grievously wounded, and dying--as a king? Does it seem at all wondrous or strange to you that he did?
The first criminal mocked Jesus just like the leaders, the soldiers, and the authority of the Roman Empire. “If you are the Messiah, save yourself and us.” He meant, “Interrupt this crucifixion and stop us from dying.” But Jesus did not “save” anyone in that way--not himself or the criminals, not you and not me.
The second criminal, strangely, did not ask Jesus for help avoiding suffering and death. He seemed to understand death was part of the deal. The only way around is through. How did he know? When others called Jesus “king” to mock him and the whole Jewish people, he instead asked to be part of Jesus’ kingdom. How do you account for this?
As you watch Jesus during his crucifixion, what do Jesus’ words mean to you: “Take up your cross and follow me”? What must you lay down in order to take up your cross? Where must you not go in order to follow Jesus?
What do you want to say now to Christ the King?
Saint Paul Lutheran Church
715 South Third Street
Clinton, IA 52732
(at the foot of the south bridge)