Two Thieves and All the Sin of the World

Weekend Musings on the Eve of Passion Week or Any other Week

Adapted from the accounts of
Mt 27:35-44; Mk 15:24-25; Lk 23:34-38; Jn 19:23-25

 Crucified between two thieves.

Graphic by Carol Gunderson

And when they had crucified Him, they divided His garments into four parts among themselves by casting lots. Then they sat down and kept watch over Him. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another,

 “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.”

 This was to fulfill the Scripture, which says,

 “They divided My garments among them,
and for My clothing they cast lots.”
(Ps. 22:18)

 So the soldiers did these things, and it was the third hour [9 AM] when they crucified Him. And those who passed by derided Him, wagging their heads and saying,

 “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

And the robbers who were crucified with Him also reviled Him in the same way. And Jesus said,

 “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at Him, saying,

 “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, His Chosen One!”

He hangs above them now, blood oozing from His back, head, hands, and feet. Below Him, callous-hearted soldiers gamble for His clothing.

It is as if all pity has been drained from the world. The mocking from the crowd continues. The disciples are hiding. Only a few women and the Apostle John are near. And then, Jesus speaks—He prays for those who mock Him, for those who gamble over His clothing!

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Here is the heart of God revealed:  Jesus forgives, even from the cross. His forgiveness is offered to those who have despitefully abused Him. He asks the Father to be merciful to them! O how great is the love and mercy and kindness of God!

Twenty-one centuries later, the resurrected Lord Jesus continues to offer His forgiveness, continues to call men and women to belief in Him and promises that He who conquered death has the power and will to forgive us our sins and give us life eternal.

[Post excerpted from Experience the Passion of Christ (2005)]

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