Luke 23:35-43 NRSVue
35And the people stood by watching, but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” 36The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
39One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom.” 43He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
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Some thoughts on this scripture
Glamour and splendour mark the presence of earthly royalty. Jesus is not recognisable as King to those expecting power or glory. We need to train ourselves to look for signs of Jesus’ reign. His real identity can be seen only by the humble.
The ‘good thief’ saw things as they were: he knew his own sinfulness; he recognised Jesus’ character; he asked for little yet was rewarded for his honesty. Humility brings a true perspective and is the ground for meeting God. I pray for humility.
This is a remarkable scene. The King of the Jews crucified between two criminals.
How do I respond to it?
We have named the good thief Dismas, and bless him for that extraordinary prayer: /Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom./ In the throes of your final agony, Lord, you answered by welcoming him into paradise. You will be with me.