Father forgive them for they know not what they do.
There is a lot going on in the world today that gets our anger to boiling point.
Whether it’s the war in the Ukraine, domestic violence, the looting that was going on in flood regions.
I’ve mentioned it before that people often will say that I hope they rot in hell for what they’ve done.
I even heard a comment recently that there’s a special place in hell for people who commit those sorts of crime. Even though the most heinous crime was committed against Jesus we do not hear those words come from his lips. Rather we hear those powerful words – forgive them Father for they know not what they are doing. Powerful words spoken towards those crucifying him. But let us remember that even though we weren’t there on that day we may as well have been because is it our sins for which Jesus was crucified. Those gracious words were spoken not just 2000 years ago but continue to be echoed today and until the day Christ returns – forgive them Father for they know not what they are doing.
Jesus is God’s word made flesh – the same word spoken at Creation – let there be light and there was light.
When Jesus speaks, it is created – when Jesus speaks forgiveness we are forgiven. Jesus death is all about forgiveness and not blame. What amazing words that come from our Lord to his heavenly Father – forgive them. The nature of God is to forgive – love keeps no record of wrongs. In fact the very nature of God is revealed as slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Let us also example God’s nature with one another and forgive as we have been forgiven. Father forgive them for they know not what they do.
Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.
A lot of people are worried about the future. Even though we have resumed almost to the point of what we might call Covid normal – we still live tentatively. Will there be another strain? The numbers keep going up.
And now we are about to enter flu season with pleading for people to get their 4th vaccination along with the flu vaccination. We don’t know what the future holds. But for a thief on the cross he didn’t have to worry about the future because Jesus said to him “TODAY” you will be with me in paradise. A future promise is today’s reality when promised by Jesus
How could Jesus make that promise? Does he know what sort of life that thief had lived? Doesn’t he have to be punished for all the crimes he has committed? Jesus’ death today means that Jesus can assure the thief that TODAY – Jesus future promise is made a reality TODAY. What is comforting to know is that it is Jesus who decides. If we were standing at the foot of the cross looking up we probably would have said – he’s getting what he deserves. But not Jesus because Jesus doesn’t look at what we deserve but he looks at the heart and he sees in the heart of this person next to him that his heart has changed.
And so too, TODAY, you have the assurance of living in paradise with God. There is no future exam at the end you have to pass. Your future promise is brought to TODAY It doesn’t matter what anyone says to you – even Satan himself. Only Jesus judges. Let us also look for that small spark in other people and ask the Holy Spirit to kindle that spark into a flame. Jesus even promised – a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.
Woman behold your son. Then he said to the disciple – behold your mother.
Families are a gift of God to support us, and that includes or family of faith in the church.
From the beginning of time God saw that it was not good that Adam was alone so he created family – Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, Seth. His chosen people, Israel, came from family – Jacob and his sons. Jesus was born into a family and once he left his father and mother he formed around him a new family in his 12 disciples. Remember when Jesus was told your mother, brothers and sisters are here – and he looks around and says – whoever does the will of my father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.
Today as one of his last acts he establishes a new family for his mother Mary by giving to her a new son in John – behold your son – behold your mother. But sadly it is often family that get neglected. Let us take an example of Jesus here and in this Easter period touch base with a family member who has become estranged.
In this day where family breakdown is seen all too often, here from the cross Jesus continues to care for his mother and family highlighting the many blessings that come to us through family and especially our brothers and sisters in Christ. As Paul says to the Galatians: Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Have you felt like crying this out over the past couple years? Maybe you still feel like yelling it at the top of your voice. My God – my God – why have you forsaken me. How interesting to even hear those words come out of Jesus’ mouth? It feels like God has abandoned him but reality will prove to show that God never abandoned him – and never will.. But Jesus is experiencing the full extent of sin and how it separates us from God much like Adam and Eve who hid from God. He is experiencing hell – the absence of God as God made him who had no sin to become our sin.. A pain that cannot be compared to anything we experience in this life time – the separation from God.
But God promised in our baptism that he would never abandon or separate himself from us – I am with you always till the end of the age. Maybe it feels like God has abandoned the world abandoned YOU at times
But that is not the reality. The reality is victory over death through Jesus Christ our Lord. God has NOT abandoned you and never will.
Jesus’ thirst on the cross reveals to us that he is truly human. He wasn’t just going through the motions waiting for God to resurrect him. He experienced all the pain and emotion of that day. Many times Jesus gave us that insight. With the Samaritan woman at the well he expressed his thirst and asked for a drink of water.
When appearing to the disciples on the beach after his resurrection he asked if they had anything to eat.
But there is also the spiritual thirst which we all crave that seeks Jesus who is the living water.
This is the thirst that we have that only Jesus can satisfy. There was a time in these past couple years where we longed for the precious body and blood of Jesus to eat and drink. We wondered how long it would be before we could gather together again around the Table of our Lord and have our thirst quenched.
But God was faithful and he kept us strong as he nourished our thirst through the living waters of our Baptism. And that’s why when Jesus was hungry and thirsty he resisted temptation to turn rocks into bread and feed himself trusting that God would feed him and now on the cross that God would quench his thirst. We too are to keep trusting in God in all things.
It is finished
“It is finished” is very different to “I give up”. In the Garden of Gethsemane that was Jesus’ temptation – this cup is too much – take it away – but not my will be done but yours. That same temptation came from the people looking up at Jesus on the cross– come down from the cross and we’ll believe in you. But that wasn’t Jesus aim – to have people believe in him by coming down from the cross or any other miracle but to defeat death by rising from the grave. And now as he nears that point – having resisted temptation to give up or come down – he can proclaim – it is finished. The battle is over – I have won.
Despite the pain, despite the abandonment, despite the betrayal, despite the denials – Jesus remained on the cross for you and finished his mission of defeating Satan and death for you. It is finished.
It is truly finished – where O death is your victory – thanks be to God who gives US the victory over death through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Father into your hands I commit my spirit.
When all is said and done what more comforting place can we find than in our loving Father’s hands.
Just like the mother hen whose desire was to gather her little chicks under her wings but they were not willing – Jesus now places himself there – in his loving Father’s arms. With all the pain and hardships happening all around us today where can we find more comfort than in the loving hands of our Father in Heaven. When the prodigal son returns his Father throws his hands wide open to receive his lost son who was dead but is now alive. He placed himself into his father’s hands And now, thanks to the work of Jesus that is complete we too who were once lost and dead to sin can place our lives into God’s welcoming hands. Let us, like Jesus today, commit ourselves into our loving Father’s hands.