“Woman, behold thy son! . . . Behold thy mother!”

“Woman, behold thy son! . . . Behold thy mother!”

John 19:25b-27
We’re already about halfway to Easter! Each Sunday we’re trying to take a close look at each of Jesus’ Seven Last Words, the last things Jesus said as he was crucified. Last Sunday, we explored Jesus’ statement to the penitent thief: ”Today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Today, we’re back at the same cross, but it’s a bit of a different scene, told by a different gospel. But we’re still looking up at the same Jesus. This time, however, it’s pretty obvious he’s looking down on us. Now, we’ve all had experiences of being looked down on, as in being put down or dismissed. Jesus is not being patronizing. He’s looking down in love from where he hangs. He’s looking down through his suffering. He’s, you might say, beholding us. He looks down and sees three Mary’s there: his mother, his aunt, and his disciple Mary Magdalene. They’re all looking up, or maybe looking down. Who knows? The scene is beyond hard.

Read More

“Today You Will Be with Me in Paradise”

“Today You Will Be with Me in Paradise”

We began on Valentine’s Day, so we’re exactly eleven days into our season to draw near the cross of Jesus. Each Sunday, we’re taking a close look at each of Jesus’ last words. Last Sunday we explored Jesus’ prayerful cry: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Today, we’re back at the same cross, in the same scene, told by the same gospel, Luke’s.

We’re looking up at the same Jesus. But this time he says something different... “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Read More

“Father, Forgive Them . . . ”

“Father, Forgive Them . . . ”

Luke 23:32-38
This Lent will be our season to draw near the cross of Jesus. Each Sunday we’ll take each of Jesus’ Seven Last Words, the last sayings of Jesus as he was crucified, and seek to enter into their meaning and purpose.

Why do this? Because how we see Jesus’ crucifixion can either take us more deeply into the life we share in Christ or, if misunderstood, can end up, ironically, distancing us from the life we share in Christ.

If the cross is seen as an impersonal transaction between Jesus and God, or God and the Devil, then we’re left with an abstract doctrine.

Read More