Promise. The eleventh of fifteen words on Jesus' way to the Cross.
Our eleventh Lent reflection considers Jesus' promise to the criminals crucified alongside him, as recorded in Luke 23:39-43.
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’
But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’
Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’
Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’
The promise from the cracked, dying and bleeding lips of Jesus, is the promise of life. He’s been building up to this for weeks. Ever since his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Perhaps he’s been building up to it for longer, ever since he met and loved and transformed a tax collector (Zaccheus).
Jesus, the Son of God, the King of the Jews, died not quite alone. Hung as a common criminal between two common criminals, one taunted him, the other recognized him.
One recognizes Jesus for who He really is – and receives the promise of eternal life.
And in that promise, in the mystery of Jesus’ pain, his speech through cracked and parched lips, on a breath that would wrack his broken body, are words of life.
Pray – the words of Jesus promise us eternal life; in our Together Prayer diary for today, we are invited to pray for new life among the young people of London.
Respond – LCM is part of PrayLondon, a catalyst for prayer for London in times of crisis. Why not check it out, and join us in praying for London, for hope and life in times of despair and confusion?