Welcome to Day Six of this Holy Week devotional journey as we follow 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?
Before we focus on the scripture, let’s make space to be still and pray. Take some time to pause, slow down, be still, and 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…”
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.
What stood out to you? What captured your attention? Usually, this is what God wants you to think about, consider, and focus on. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Next, 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? 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.