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Scriptural Stations of the Cross: Station 11

March 5, 2013

 

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Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Good Thief.

 

Death by crucifixion was slow, humiliating, and excruciatingly painful.  It could take hours or days, and was the result of anything from blood loss to dehydration.  So, it is not surprising that one of the men crucified with Jesus lashed out against him, mocking him and cursing him.  Pain can do terrible things to human beings, even good ones—and the men crucified beside Christ were anything but good.

What is surprising is that the other criminal there didn’t join in on the verbal abuse. Instead he acknowledged his own deeds, took the abuser to task, and almost humbly asked Jesus to remember him when Christ came into his kingdom.

Christ’s response was equally surprising: “This day you will be with me in paradise,” making this obscure victim of the Romans’ worst form of execution the only person to be certainly promised heaven.

As human beings, we cannot speak the words Christ spoke.  We do have a choice, however, when we are in pain.  We can lash out, verbally and even physically as the first criminal did.  Or we can acknowledge our own faults and have our actions and words come from a restrained humility.

Pray that, in all of the pain in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, people will not respond with violent words or deeds.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

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