Bible Society of South Africa

People are part of God’s plan: People at the cross – 16 May 2022

By Carina Francke

Bible text(s)

42And he said to Jesus, “Remember me, Jesus, when you come as King!”

Luke 23:42GNBOpen in Bible reader

Today, as I pondered on the puzzle-piece image of what had happened to Jesus at the cross, I fell down in thankful worship before Him. This reminded me: Jesus was punished, mistreated, pierced, crushed, and nailed to a cross for mine, yours and all other people’s sins, transgressions, and errant ways. The blood, the result of every strike of the fist and the flagellation inflicted, every nail through His hands and feet, and the crown of thorns on his head, was the price He paid as ransom for every chain of spiritual bondage, imprisonment by the power of sin, as well as the healing from every sickness and ailment.

During these moments, while He himself was staring death in the face on Golgotha, He was also painfully aware of the individual needs of people with him. His calling for people was his principal motivation and left no room for being uninvolved.

While nails were hammered through His hands and feet, He prayed to his Father: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) And the wonder of it all was that they were not even his followers, but heathen!

Despite ridicule, mocking and contempt by religious leaders, (Luke 23:35b) Jesus stayed focussed on his task: the salvation, liberation, and healing of his creation – man. For that moment, his attention was on the conversation between the two condemned criminals hanging on either side of him. The one hurled insults at Jesus, but the other one boldly rebuked the fellow criminal: “Don’t you fear God … since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” (Luke 24:40-41) Then he said, “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42)

And Jesus, painfully aware of death awaiting him, answered with godly authority: I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

But Jesus’ love for people, even in his last gasp, stayed priority. A few people, including John, and Jesus’ mother, Mary, stayed behind at the cross. Jesus was fully aware of the unravelling of Mary’s emotions. Did Simeon not tell her years ago that a sword will pierce her own soul not? (Luke 2:35)

Thus, when Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, he said to his mother: “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:26-27, NIV)

Prayer: Our Father, thank you that we are able to be part of a physical family. Moreover, thank you that you made it possible for insignificant and imperfect human creations to become part of Jesus Christ’s spiritual family by faith in Jesus Christ. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.21.8
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