Archive for October 8th, 2008

I Do Not Know What I Do

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Today’s scripture: Luke 23:32-38 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Keith Phillips):

In his journey toward death, Jesus has reached “the place of the Skull.” There he is to be executed by the most diabolical means the ancient world could devise: crucifixion. But he does not die alone.

First in the text, there are the two criminals, but more about them tomorrow.

Second, there are the Roman soldiers, trained to be as cruel as necessary and often more cruel than necessary. They nail spikes through Jesus’ hands and feet. Then they raise the cross into position and wait for death to come, usually not hours but days. Jesus has been stripped of his garments, and he hangs naked from the cross. The Romans throw dice to determine who might have Jesus’ clothes to take home. They mock him, saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”

Third, there are the Jewish religious leaders who, much like our religious leaders, are understood to represent God for the people. Just like the Gentile soldiers, the religious leaders taunt Jesus: “He saved others [a remarkable acknowledgment for them!]; let him save himself, if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!”

Fourth, “and the people stood by, watching.” The crowd, some of whom at least only hours before had shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”, now is silent. Are they silent because they’re powerless? confused? ashamed? guilt-ridden?

And there he is, dying, hanging on the cross between two dregs-of-the-earth criminals, being castigated by ruthless Roman soldiers and malicious religious leaders, watched in silence by the crowds who’d adored him on Palm Sunday and shouted for his death on Good Friday. And what does he say? “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

Ain’t it the truth? We do not know what we do. How can we? No one can ever know what the consequences, the ramifications of any of our actions will be. Even when we seek to do no harm, even when we try to do good, even when we’re silenced by powerlessness, we do not really know what the result of our action or non-action will be. So, all of us, all of us look to Jesus who says, “Father, forgive them.”

Thought for the day: Lord, today I recognize that “there is none righteous, no, not one.” May I look up to you and receive the forgiveness that I need and that will transform my being. Thank you. Amen.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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