39 One of the criminals hanging next to Jesus insulted him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
40 Responding, the other criminal spoke harshly to him, “Don’t you fear God, seeing that you’ve also been sentenced to die? 41 We are rightly condemned, for we are receiving the appropriate sentence for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
43 Jesus replied, “I assure you that today you will be with me in paradise.”
In the most horrifying moment, a 24 hour period where he sat with his friends, shared a meal with the one who would betray Him, realized how weak those whom He loved were as He watched them flee and deny Him. Then being dragged away as a common thief, was beaten, flogged, spat upon, mocked and humiliated finds Himself on the cross between two criminals, rebels.
The cross, the meaning of the cross then was no place a person would find grace. A man that went through what Jesus went through would need no defense if He said nothing. But even there Jesus was willing to share the good news of love, grace and forgiveness. In the most loneliness time I could ever imagine a sinner reached out in faith and Jesus offered Him grace and promised Him eternal life.
This example He gave to us kind of eliminates our excuses, our bad days from doing Good and spreading the great news of Jesus Christ. Today is Good Friday; in Mark's gospel chapter 15 starting with verse 34 we hear that at 3pm Jesus cries out with a loud voice and breathed His last breath. We as Americans remember our history moments; 9/11, D-day, The Founding papers of this Country to name a few. But on a day that changed our lives forever what do you do. Today set your alarm for 3 pm. When it goes off take a deep breath in and out and give thanks. Let us not simply pass through this day as if it is just another day for it is not. It is the day that love poured out on that horrific cross, a blood offering so we might go free and death would pass over us.
Meet the pastor
Rev. Pastor Carl Schreiber has been serving East Orrington Congregational Church (EOCC) since March 12, 2006