Luk 23:26-48 As the soldiers led Jesus away, they grabbed a man named Simon, who was from the city of Cyrene. Simon was coming into Jerusalem. They laid the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd followed Jesus. The women in the crowd cried and sang funeral songs for him. Jesus turned to them and said, "You women of Jerusalem, don't cry for me! Rather, cry for yourselves and your children! The time is coming when people will say, 'Blessed are the women who couldn't get pregnant, who couldn't give birth, and who couldn't nurse a child.' Then people will say to the mountains, 'Fall on us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!' If people do this to a green tree, what will happen to a dry one?"
Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be executed with him. When they came to the place called The Skull, they crucified him. The criminals were also crucified, one on his right and the other on his left. Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them. They don't know what they're doing." Meanwhile, the soldiers divided his clothes among themselves by throwing dice. The people stood there watching. But the rulers were making sarcastic remarks. They said, "He saved others. If he's the Messiah that God has chosen, let him save himself!" The soldiers also made fun of him. They would go up to him, offer him some vinegar, and say, "If you're the king of the Jews, save yourself!"
A written notice was placed above him. It said, "This is the king of the Jews." One of the criminals hanging there insulted Jesus by saying, "So you're really the Messiah, are you? Well, save yourself and us!" But the other criminal scolded him: "Don't you fear God at all? Can't you see that you're condemned in the same way that he is? Our punishment is fair. We're getting what we deserve. But this man hasn't done anything wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom." Jesus said to him, "I can guarantee this truth: Today you will be with me in paradise."
Around noon darkness came over the entire land and lasted until three in the afternoon. The sun had stopped shining. The curtain in the temple was split in two. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit." After he said this, he died. When an army officer saw what had happened, he praised God and said, "Certainly, this man was innocent!"
This weekend, we reflect on the goodness and mercy of God who sent His Son to die for us, as Christians, we need to be praying for the lives of those who make there twice a year trek to church. Pray that the messages at your churches and the people there, touch them. May the Words speak to them, and may they absorb those Words. Our God is merciful! The thief on the cross, decided in his last minutes of life that he wanted the eternal. And because he wanted to be with Jesus, that's all it took! Jesus told him, that he would be with Him today in Paradise! What a promise! All we need to do is call out to Him, and we too can be saved. Then, we can start living a NEW life, in Him!
Pray for people who might hear the "Easter Story" this weekend. We need to pray and be working at what God wants us to be doing, growing His Church, telling others about His awesomeness and His forgiveness~ NO MATTER WHAT WE HAVE DONE!!!
Praise His name!!!
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