As Easter approaches, our thoughts turn to the crucifixion and the miracle of Christ's resurrection. On this Good Friday, we are given an opportunity to reflect in prayer and meditation on our Lord's sacrifice. Consider these words from Luke 23:33-47:
"When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals--one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
The people stood watching, and
the rulers even sneered at him. They said, "He saved others; let him save
himself if he is the Christ of God, the
The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself."
There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"
But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."
Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last.
The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, "Surely this was a righteous man.""[i]
We've all heard the story so many times; it's easy for the events to lose their impact through sheer familiarity. From the moment He stepped onto this earth, Jesus was marked for death. Though He could have turned away from this path at any time, Christ was compelled by love to offer His life as payment for our sins.
One way we can continue to honor His sacrifice is by doing likewise. What can each of us sacrifice? What are we willing to give up in order to help our fellow human beings and glorify God?