Luke 23: 35-43
From the Cross Jesus said, “Father, forgive these people! They don’t know what they’re doing.”
While the crowd stood there watching him, the soldiers gambled for his clothes. The leaders insulted him by saying, “He saved others. Now he should save himself, if he really is God’s chosen Messiah!”
The soldiers made fun of Jesus and brought him some wine.
They said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!”
Above him was a sign that said, “This is the King of the Jews.”
One of the criminals hanging there also insulted Jesus by saying, “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and save us!”
But the other criminal told off the first one “Don’t you fear God? Aren’t you getting the same punishment as this man? We got what was coming to us, but he didn’t do anything wrong.”
Then he said to Jesus, “Remember me when you come into power!”
Jesus replied, “I promise that today you will be with me in paradise.”
It’s a strange kind of king that surrenders to the will of others.
A king that places himself, not in authority but in solidarity with his people; with the lowest and most desperate of his people. Even knowing that a word, a gesture, could make this all go away; Jesus chooses not to; he chooses to remain faithful to his humanity.
Jesus proves his power by being powerless; his submission takes him out of the hands of those who jeer and tempt him – leaving him in God’s hands.
When the other criminal speaks up; he recognises this. He knows himself; he has accepted who he is; sees some sort of justice; knows that he now has no power over his future.
There is something bigger here; there is something more; there is a strength and a faith that even at the end; something, even for a few moments, the man wants to be a part of.
‘Take me with you.’ he pleads. And Jesus does; Christ, the king who will not save himself, will save anyone who has faith.