Luke 23:33-43 (NRSV)
Verse 33When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Verse 34Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." And they cast lots to divide his clothing. Verse 35And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!" Verse 36The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, Verse 37and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" Verse 38There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews." Verse 39One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" Verse 40But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? Verse 41And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong." Verse 42Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Verse 43He replied, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
As we approach the coming Christ the King Sunday, we witness in the gospel reading the story of the mocking and ridicule of Jesus on the cross. As the Apostle Paul reminded the church in Corinth, “For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:18) I have often referred to life as a rollercoaster ride. Life is filled with highs and lows, joys and tears. Today our faith life is focused on that cross. We live, despite our rollercoaster of emotions, with a King who was nailed with our sins to a cross. A King who is forever giving us the gift of hope that looks beyond our tears. We continue to look upon God’s love that appears on the cross. God in Jesus laid down his life for us. We are post-Easter people. We continue to know hope and promise in Christ’s coming, his death and resurrection.
Lord God of Hope, King of this Universe, help us to see the depth of your love for us. May your love give us the courage and the strength to live this day in your gift of grace. In Jesus Christ our Hope we pray, Amen.