32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” 38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews. 39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Jesus, you are absolutely stunning.
As you hang, suspended on a cross, by nails pierced through your hands and feet… with thorns digging into your head and the torn raw flesh on your back against splintered wood… displayed for the crowd in naked vulnerability… mocked and verbally abused by those around you… still your words betray that you thought most of others…
“Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”
“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
How great your love is for us Jesus, though we are not worthy of it. As we were cursing you, you were forgiving us… Jesus, thank you for loving me in spite of my brokenness and rebellion. Forgive me for all the times I have used my freedom against you, and for all the times I have doubted your love. Help me to receive your extravagant love, and to give it away. Amen.
Written by Ps. Bethany Waugh