Saturday, April 07, 2012

My Reaction To The Crucifixion

Which person at the cross resembles you?

Luke 23:27-49 A large crowd trailed behind, including many grief-stricken women. 28 But Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the days are coming when they will say, ‘Fortunate indeed are the women who are childless, the wombs that have not borne a child and the breasts that have never nursed.’ 30 People will beg the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and plead with the hills, ‘Bury us.’ 31 For if these things are done when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

32 Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. 33 When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left.

34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.

35 The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine. 37 They called out to him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 A sign was fastened to the cross above him with these words: “This is the King of the Jews.”

39 One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”

40 But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? 41 We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

43 And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

44 By this time it was noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 45 The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle. 46 Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last.

47 When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshiped God and said, “Surely this man was innocent.” 48 And when all the crowd that came to see the crucifixion saw what had happened, they went home in deep sorrow. 49 But Jesus’ friends, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching.

Imagine being an eyewitness to the most significant event in human history, think about what Jesus looked like after all of the abuse, what if you were there watching the events unfold. What would your reaction be?

Luke tells us that there was a large crowd witnessing the event, the general population of Jerusalem, the Roman soldiers, the religious leaders and even a couple of criminals, let's take a look at their reactions:

There was the crowd in general including many grief-stricken women that Jesus took a moment to speak to. The crowds went home in deep sorrow when it was all over.

The religious leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” They got their way, they thought to themselves "we win."

The soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. They mocked him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” Even the sign that they nailed to the cross that said "the King of the Jews" seems like sarcasm.

The criminals being crucified, one of them mocked Jesus but the other one got what it was all about, he realized that an innocent man was being executed, somebody that was more than an ordinary man. Is Jesus a king? This criminal realized that Jesus is the king of a kingdom that is not of this world.

One particular Roman soldier got it “Surely this man was innocent, this man really was God’s Son!” (Matthew 27:54, Luke 23:47)

Which person at the cross best describes your reaction to Jesus?