The Passion of Christ in the Gospel of Luke
A Guide to Meditation and Prayer
Week 6 - Day 3
Meditation on Scripture- Read Luke 23:26-43 and write your reflections in the workbook. Use the summary below for further reflection on the passage. Prayer- Use the Guide for Prayer.
The site of the crucifixion was a distance from Pilate’s judgment hall. As an added insult, the prisoner was forced to carry the instrument of his own death. The condition of Jesus had been sufficiently weakened at that point because of his scourging. For this reason, a passerby named Simon was conscripted to carry Jesus’ cross.
The trail of Jesus, though early in the morning, had apparently garnered a great deal of attention, for a large crowd went with them. Among them were a great many women who mourned and wept. Jesus tells them prophetically that even worse days are coming. If he was referencing the destruction of Jerusalem, he was certainly accurate in his statement.
Many aspects of what happened fulfilled words from Isaiah. That Jesus prayed for his executioners fulfills Isaiah 53:12, that says that he made intercession for the transgressors. That he was crucified between two criminals also fulfills Isaiah 53:12 that says he was numbered with the transgressors. That both the religious leaders and the soldiers mocked him fulfills Isaiah 53:3 that says that he was despised and rejected by men.
The account of the criminal is poignant. One joined in the mockery. The other however rebuked the man and defended Jesus. He had the faith to ask Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom. Jesus promised that he would be with him that day in Paradise.
Things to consider –
· Simon’s name is remembered probably because he would end up being part of the early church. Do you think he felt it an honor to do this service for Christ?
· What do you suppose the other two criminals had done that deserved death?
· What do you think Jesus means by saying that they did not know what they were doing?
· Do you think Jesus meant this prayer of forgiveness?
· Have you ever had the courage to defend Jesus?
· Would you have the courage to do what the one criminal did?
· Hymn verses – “On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame. And I love that old cross where the dearest and best, for a world of poor sinners was slain.”
· “Were you there when they crucified the Lord. Were you there when they crucified the Lord. Were you there when they crucified the Lord. Oh, sometimes it causes it me to tremble, tremble, tremble.”
· “O sacred head now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down, now scornfully surrounded with thorns thine only crown; how pale thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn! How does that visage languish which once was bright as morn!”
Guide for prayer –
· Take 1 minute to calm your mind and gather your spirit.
· · What was the expression on Jesus’ face as he walked toward the place of the skull? We would imagine that his face still showed the same grace, peace, and. confidence it always had. Yet is must have also displayed a real sadness, trouble, and pain. He had been brutally beaten at this point. The beating he endured, being scourged with 39 lashes, was brutal and bloody. It was called “the half-way death,” because you were on the verge of death when it was completed. Isaiah describes the disfigurement of a person who had been beaten in such a way when he says of the Messiah, “As many were astonished at him, his appearance was so marred beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind.” (52:14) His weakness at this point from loss of blood was probably the reason they conscripted a passerby, Simon, to carry his cross. Many of those following the events of the morning would have rejoiced over Jesus’ demise. There was a group however that wept with profound sorrow. In his compassion, Jesus stopped to speak to them and respond to their obvious grief. This is Jesus’ last recorded set of teachings and he will warn them that terrible things are in their future. Once Jesus is nailed to the cross, his words will only come in short phrases and in a few uncomfortable sentences.
· In prayer, reflect on the cross. Consider the face of Jesus. Reflect on those hours. What would it have been like to observe them?
· Take some moments to offer your own prayers to God. Offer whatever prayers seem appropriate.