Prayer: Almighty God, it is through the agony and death of Your son that we are given renewed life. May the renewed life of Jesus Christ enter into our hearts and minds and souls so that we can share the love of Christ with others this day. Amen.
Luke 23: 44 – 49
The death of Christ. We read this scripture and live this scripture during Holy Week and Easter. Yet here we are during the summer time reading this scripture. It seems out of place with summertime— a time of holidays and warmth. Yet this is the ideal time to reflect upon this scripture…. it gives us pause to read of the sadness of the death of Christ – yet we know the rest of the story… the story of joy and love.
Jesus calls out in a loud voice, “Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit”. (Luke 23: 46 NIV Zondervan, 1983). Can we say this as well? Can we let go of our pain and worries and burdens and say, “Father, into Your hands I give You myself”? Often we give our burdens and worries to God only to take them back again the next day. Following the example of Christ, we must totally let go of our burdens and worries to God.
As Jesus breathed his last, there was a centurion who witnessed the last minutes of Christ’s life. The centurion praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man” (Luke 23: 48 NIV Zondervan, 1983). Why do you think the centurion praised God and said that surely Jesus was a righteous man? Do you think the centurion heard Jesus speaking with the criminal and telling the criminal that he would be with him in paradise? Reflect for a moment on how the crucifixion and death of Christ made a big impact upon the centurion. Was his life changed forever?
The crowd watching the crucifixions beat their breasts and then went away. Beating their breasts was a sign of mourning. A sign of grieving. Did anyone in the crowd have their life changed or did this event trickle out of their memories after a few days?
At a distance were those who knew Jesus and the women who had followed Jesus from Galilee. They stood and watched what happened. While Jesus had told them that he would die and then rise again, they are stunned. Their teacher and leader has died. They think that this is the end. But we know the rest of the story. The death of Jesus is only the very beginning of the love of God.
Prayer: Redeeming God, may the renewed life of Jesus Christ enter into our hearts this day. May this renewed life fill our hearts with joy and our minds with love so that we may live in Your radiant glory. This we ask in Christ’s name. Amen.