Weekly Reflection (NEW!)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
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This is the seventh and last devotion in our Lenten series on the Passion of Christ
Please read Luke 23:32--56 in your Bible.
"And 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!' The soldiers also mocked him coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, 'If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!'" (NRSV vv. 35 --37) Jesus is hanging there on the cross and the people are mocking him. They're making fun of a suffering, dying man. The thing is Jesus could have saved himself. Jesus could have gotten off that cross and lived. Jesus could have even gotten off that cross and been the conquering hero the people wanted. He could have gotten away.
Have you ever wriggled out of a situation to save your own skin? Back in my youth I got pulled over by the police so many times in a span of about two years that when I saw those blue lights flashing (in Georgia they're blue) I didn't even get nervous. One time I was driving through Stone Mountain Park where the speed limit is 25 miles per hour. Needless to say I wasn't going 25 m.p.h. I wasn't flying either. It wasn't long before those blue lights were flashing in my mirror. I told the policeman that I was sorry and had no idea I was going that fast. (I think I was doing 40.) "You see, officer, my speedometer is broken. I really can't tell how fast I am going." It was broken, but I knew I was speeding. He let me go. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what you call opportunism. I lied and was able to wriggle out of an expensive ticket.
Jesus Christ, God's Son, was no opportunist. He was committed to the end even to death on a cross. "Well," you might be thinking, "this was Jesus after all. He only had to wait three days, then everything would be okay." No, it was not like that. It was pain. It was anguish. It was fear. It was isolation. It was abandonment. It was death. It was for us. God was with us even though being with us meant certain death. Jesus, God with us, did not turn away. Jesus did not wriggle out of it. Jesus loved us that much.
Pray that God will renew your faith this Holy Week as we relive the great events of God's salvation for us all. To make your joy complete, be sure to attend services on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the Vigil of Easter, and Easter when we proclaim that Christ is risen!