Luke 23, the Last Breath of Jesus, 05Jan
Luke 23 – I’m nearing the end of Luke’s gospel in Michael Card’s “Biblical Imagination” series book… So many lessons in such few verses (posted at the end of this page) near Jesus’s last breath… Luke’s writing is a way to teach us in heart-convicting lessons shared with astonishment and always careful watch…
In verse 39, the criminals scene shows us God’s mercy – the repentance comes with acknowledging one’s guilt, and the saving comes from understanding and asking Jesus to remember us… Jesus’s continuous ministry message is that He is doing all this by His Father’s command – He will not lose anyone that His Father brings to Him…. If you are drawn to Jesus, then know that God Himself has brought you there! We come for gifted Mercy… Jesus knows our needs, we are led there but it’s up to us to ask, to reach. When we ask Jesus for Mercy, He will tell us that we already have it… (v39-43)
The darkness scene of the crucifixion shows us God’s pain (v44) – the Sun failed – the Son was felled – God’s scale of grief to lose a child?… Jesus’s scale of grief to not reach each lost child of God?… No one could imagine God’s trade off – the human life of Jesus for fulfilling His desire to reach all of us… Painful purpose…
The Temple’s torn curtain scene shows us God’s promise (v45) – Jesus was and IS the answer. Jesus is the promise that God gave us to show that there is no barrier to worship Him. We have a direct link. The curtain that tore was more than a physical and ceremonial event, it was like a foot thick and it instantly split apart… That indicates miracle but what Jesus truly opened for us was THE WAY HOME… God’s promise to bring us under His wing.
The centurion scene shows us it’s never too late to accept Jesus (v47). The man integral in execution was still saved… He was saveable, we are saveable too… NOTHING we do will keep us away from God’s plan to correct and cherish His Children… We are called to be in God’s plan.
The dispersing crowd scene (v48) shows us God’s path for us to see the light out of the darkness… The massive crowds have seen the darkness of brutal death, then see the darkness of the deepest night… Convinced now that it was no longer an average crucifixion, they were silenced. They beat their chests in the understanding that something real had happened… If their conviction is felt so sharply here – their darkness SO DARK… How could we NOT imagine our inner darkness too, our deepest pain and doubts…. Where is OUR faith in dark times?
The women on the hill scene shows us steadfast faith (v49) their faith and God’s faith in us… They would have seen the dark too, but they stayed there waiting and watching… They were the ones who travelled with Jesus and were ALWAYS watching… These women became integral in the early voice of the Christian church because they were there. Women who showed the world how to be bold in their presence, in their silence and in their sharing… We can use these examples as women and men today – to remember that we are called to witness and share…
We are not always understanding this world, we are just visitors, workers in these fields, but ALWAYS we can be watching and be on the ready to move physically and be moved emotionally and to be witness to others of God’s faithfulness – of God’s plan…
God’s Faith in us is that we too will see the LIGHT.
The death of Jesus brings His everlasting life and ours…. And this brings to us OUR chance to witness the commitment of the Lord to us.
Luke’s gospel has one more chapter, I can’t wait to read it…. I suggest that we already know how the contrast will be SO HUGE – not silence – not darkness – but instead, on Easter and forever more, there will be an explosion of sound and LIGHT… Hear the Good News spreading and behold those that see the LIGHT.
After the last human breath of Jesus, we pray to hear the next news of Jesus rising, wait for it to pour into our ears and eyes – to feel its healing to our broken souls – and to speak it as witnesses thru our own mouths…
Easter feels like it is just a faith breath away… It is… Behold the next breathe…
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
The Death of Jesus
44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.