A Devotion for the Friday of Holy Week: Death Day

Jesus Christ on cross painting

34And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35And 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!” 36The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”  Luke 23:34-37

As I’ve spent more time in my house these past couple weeks, the TV and radio has been on much more often. Every so often I hear a commercial that says, “If you just buy this product you’ll feel better about yourself.” Or a speaker on a show says, “Just follow these easy steps to feel fulfilled in life.” There’s so much around us today that says, “Just focus on yourself. Do whatever is the best for you.” We’re surrounded by these messages of if you do this then everything will be better for you.

Isn’t this also what Jesus faced on the cross with those who watched and yelled at him? As the people watched, they mocked Jesus and challenged him by saying if you really are the Son of God, then just save yourself. Save yourself. That’s all that the onlookers focused on as Jesus hung on the cross. At that moment they could only think of Jesus being like themselves, self-centered. They could only focus on the idea that if Jesus had the power to save himself, he would! However, contrary to their thoughts Jesus does not save himself and dies on that cross.

After all of the physical pain and torture he went through that day along with now being nailed on a cross for all to see, Jesus had to listen to insults and lies being thrown at him. What’s incredible is even in this moment Jesus was not thinking about himself. While people were telling him to save himself, Jesus called to God saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Instead of calling on the Father asking for Him to take him off the cross he instead intercedes for all of the people and asks not for wrath or judgement on them, but rather forgiveness. 

While he hung there in pain, suffering from all of his wounds, Jesus didn’t think of himself but rather he thought of us. All the people who stood before him mocking him, all of us living right now. He was focused on you and what had to happen so he could save you. By Jesus refusing to save himself from the cross he gave salvation to you. As we spend today reflecting on the death of Christ, remember all that he went through and how much he cares for you. He loves us so much that he was willing to die so we could be saved.

Heavenly Father, thank you for all that you have given us. Thank you for the salvation we have been given through the sacrifice of your son Jesus Christ. Help us to focus on others and what we can do for them, just as Jesus focused on others even as he died. Be with us and strengthen us as we continue on in our lives, reminding us of what Christ has done for us and through whom we have been saved. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 


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