Holy Week Reflection on Luke 23:32-43
There are so many powerful pieces of the Good Friday story:
Yet, on Good Friday morning I often find myself thinking about the other guys. You know the two dudes on the “other” crosses. Ever since I heard the story as a little boy in Catholic school it has fascinated me. It has all the elements of a best selling book or a blockbuster movie.
A hero and a couple villains meet up one day. the villains have lived in such a way that they find themselves in a bad spot. The decisions they have made have set them up for a bad ending. Yet, they run into our hero. The hero is also in the same situation but obviously does not “deserve” to be there.
The two bad guys find themselves locked in the same room with our good guy. They apparently are aware of our hero and his reputation. this is where our plot really heats up. One of the bad guys berates our hero and the other remains silent at first. The same bad guy then begins to mock our hero. Our hero remains silent and then the other guy, we will call him not-so-bad guy, speaks. He shuts down the berating and the mocking. He takes responsibility for where he finds himself and wonders why the other bad guy doesn’t. He points out that the hero shouldn’t even be there.
This story has always fascinated me because of the contrasts. I want to be the not-so-bad guy, I really do. Yet, I feel as if too many times I am simply the bad guy. I look at situations that I find myself and blame someone else for them. I see how “fortunate” others are and believe they don’t deserve it. I also feel as if I am not alone. I am sure there are many people just like me.
Which criminal would I have been that afternoon, hanging on the cross next to Jesus? Would I have been the one mocking him or would I have been the one asking of Jesus could remember me? Which one would you be?
The truth that comes out in this story is we are one of those criminals. The question becomes which one are we. When we are at our lowest point will be turn towards Jesus with forgiveness or with scorn? Have we decided that like some politicians we don’t ever need to ask Jesus for forgiveness?
The crosses on either side of Jesus have our names on them. This Good Friday morning I am going to spend some time in prayer and meditation thinking about the other guys and thinking about my response to the hero on the cross next to mine.