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The Revelation of God
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Hi <<First Name>>,


Last week we looked at Jesus’ parable of the tenacious widow who sought justice. Jesus used the story to encourage his disciples to continue to pray to the God who loves justice, and who will act at the appropriate time.  This week, we see Jesus putting into practice his own teachings and revealing to us the character of God in circumstances that might cause us to act very differently. 
 


 Reading 
 

Luke 23:34:  Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” 

Luke 23:43: Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in Paradise. 

Luke 23:46: Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. 
 


Reflection 

Good Friday?  As if.  What’s good about that Friday?  In fact, it’s easy to look at the events leading up to the crucifixion, and the crucifixion itself, as a complete failure.  Judas, one of the twelve disciples, betrayed Jesus with a kiss (Lk 22:48).  Peter failed to understand and implement Jesus’ teaching of non-violence when he cut off the soldier’s ear (22:50-51).  The chief priests and temple police failed to recognise the true King and sovereign, arresting him as a bandit (22:53).  The soldiers punch and verbally assault him (22:63-65). Then, another failure by Peter in his repeated denial of Jesus (22:54-62). Then we have the failure of Pilate to stand up for justice.  He recognises that there is no basis for the accusations against Jesus (23:4).  The questioning of Jesus by Herod turns out to be unsuccessful, and Pilate too finds no reason to sentence Jesus to death (23:15).  And lastly the crowd shouts “crucify, crucify him!”  What could possibly be good about that Friday?

How does Jesus respond?  There’s no lust for vengeance.  Instead there’s Jesus’ request to the father that he not retaliate against them because they have acted in ignorance.  There’s no antagonism towards those who have abandoned or abused him.  Instead, there’s a promise that the thief who trusts in him will be in paradise with Jesus.  There’s no ultimate despair and hopelessness, but rather a turning towards the Father in trust that he will vindicate the Son.  So what’s good about this Friday?  Once again, Jesus does not respond the way we would expect.  Jesus does something entirely consistent with his own message, he continues to love even his enemies and offer forgiveness to the lost.  It is here, in the cross of Jesus, that we see the character of God revealed.  And one thing that is revealed is that God doesn’t act like we would.  That’s just one of things that’s good about that Friday. 
 


Prayer 

Forgiving God, you do not treat us as our sins deserve. Your relentless love draws us to yourself and shows us how you are different.  Thank you for your continued kindness towards us.  Thank you for the gift given to us in the laying down of your life.  Thank you that you continue to offer forgiveness and hope to the lost.  Help us to become more like you. Help us to respond to the facets of our lives in a way that reflects your character and concerns.    

Amen.   

On Sunday we’ll look at the resurrection of Jesus, the decisive act of God to vindicate and validate the mission and message of Jesus.

Until then,
Sean
 

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