Jesus on the Cross

Welcome to Day 06 of this Holy Week devotional journey.

We are following Jesus during the week leading up to his death and resurrection. 

 

What did Jesus focus on? 

What was He concerned with? 

What does God want us to see? 

And how will we respond?

Ok, let’s get started.

 

Pause and Make Space

Before we focus on the scripture, let’s make space to be still and pray.

As we enter prayer now, take some time to pause. Slow down. Be still.

Make some space by taking time to breathe deep and pray. 

Take 5 deep breaths in and out. 

Don’t skip this practice.

Take a moment to cast your cares upon God.

The Bible says he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). 

Do you have any cares, hopes, pain, or lies you need to let go of? 

Are there people and circumstances to give to God? 

Take some time to do just that, by praying, “Jesus I give you…”

 

Read the Scriptures

We will be making our way through the Gospel of Luke’s account of Jesus’ week leading up to His death and resurrection.

Take a few seconds to pause and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you through the scriptures:

Today Let’s Read Luke 23:32-49:

“Two others—criminals—were also led away to be executed with him. When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided his clothes and cast lots.

The people stood watching, and even the leaders were scoffing: “He saved others; let him save himself if this is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked him. They came offering him sour wine and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!”

An inscription was above him: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

But the other answered, rebuking him: “Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? We are punished justly because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

And he said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three, because the sun’s light failed. The curtain of the sanctuary was split down the middle. And Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” Saying this, he breathed his last.

When the centurion saw what happened, he began to glorify God, saying, “This man really was righteous!” All the crowds that had gathered for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, went home, striking their chests. But all who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.”

 

Pause and Think

What stood out to you?

What captured your attention? 

Usually, this is what God wants you to think about, consider, and focus on.

Don’t rush. If it is one verse or a phrase within a verse, that is okay.

Take a few seconds and ask the Holy Spirit to give you insight into the scriptures

What verse, verses, or phrases stood out to you. Why?

 

Let’s read Luke 23:32-49 again

“Two others—criminals—were also led away to be executed with him. When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided his clothes and cast lots.

The people stood watching, and even the leaders were scoffing: “He saved others; let him save himself if this is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked him. They came offering him sour wine and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!”

An inscription was above him: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

But the other answered, rebuking him: “Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? We are punished justly because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

And he said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three, because the sun’s light failed. The curtain of the sanctuary was split down the middle. And Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” Saying this, he breathed his last.

When the centurion saw what happened, he began to glorify God, saying, “This man really was righteous!” All the crowds that had gathered for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, went home, striking their chests. But all who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.”

Some Thoughts

Jesus is so excellent – so compelling when we take the time to slow down and just read about him.

 

We have read this week and have witnessed where Jesus’ concern and focus have been. But his concern in our passage today seems to be at another level.

 

Jesus had already been beaten and whipped by the Roman soldiers. Bloody and exhausted, he is led out and nailed to a cross. This was the most horrible way to die the Roman Empire used and one of the most brutal ways to die throughout human history.

 

And yet we find Jesus still on mission – a rescue mission of infinite grace and forgiveness. While hanging on the cross, struggling to breathe, Jesus asks God the Father to forgive the very people that were sinfully killing him. Even in so much pain, Jesus was empathetic to their spiritual blindness.

 

What concern. It is mind-boggling if you sit and think about it.

 

Jesus was dying the death all of us deserved to die because of our sin and rebellion. Every last one of us. 

 

He took our place and died once and for all (Hebrews 7:26-27; 10:14).

 

Although Jesus was sinless, he became the willing sacrifice for humanity’s sin and rebellion to bring all who repent and believe back into a right relationship with God (2 Corinthians 5:20-21). 

 

In light of His sacrifice, there are two ways to respond, represented by two people in the story. How we respond will determine if we can imitate a third person from the story.

 

First Criminal

We could be like the first criminal to speak who was crucified beside Jesus. Like him, we can let our anger drive us to insult, accuse, and scoff at Jesus and his sacrifice. Many across the world find themselves here, separated from Jesus. Their history, pain, doubt, and grief fuel their sarcastic unbelief and resistance to Jesus. They have believed lies about who he is and continue to reject what he has done. 

 

Second Criminal

Or, we could be like the second criminal crucified beside Jesus. We can take responsibility for our sins and brokenness. Salvation starts with taking responsibility for the sin and rebellion we have willfully done, even in a world filled with injustice, hurt, pain, and disappointment. We can do what it takes to open up to the faithful Jesus – have our hearts changed by his life of character, work on the cross, and powerful resurrection. And we can have the confidence to appeal and depend on his mercy – “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42).

 

The Centurion

If we follow the example of the second criminal, we can imitate the centurion as well – he glorified God. He worshipped. Whether we have recently come to trust Jesus’ death in our place for the first time or have trusted Jesus as our savior for years, this good Friday can be a time of renewal and worship because Jesus died in our place.

 

What was not a good Friday for Jesus has become the best Friday for all who take the posture of the second criminal.

 

 

Pray

Now we want to pray back to God what stood out to each of us in a personal way.

What insight, challenge, opportunity, promise, truth, or step to take with Jesus stood out to you?

Take some time right now to personalize and pray back to God what he has shown you in today’s scriptures….

 

 

Your ‘I Will’

We want to come away from our time with Jesus in the scriptures with an “I will statement”.

What is God inviting us to do? To practice? To surrender?

Remember, we are not saved by what we do…

But our obedience is vital to be fruitful disciples. 

Take some time to pray and write down your “I will statement”.

Then share it with someone you trust and who will encourage you to do what God has said to do.