Monday, September 19, 2005

Sermon Summary 9-17

The gospel writer Luke considered Jesus' crucifixion the defining moment of His life. He wrote more about it than any other story and presented Jesus life as proceeding to and from this event. From this perspective I suggest that we can learn much from Jesus' relationships on His journey from Pilate's court to His death on Calvary as recorded in Luke 23.

The first person Jesus meets on His journey is Simon, who is forced to help carry His cross (Lu. 23:26). Often we have a picture in our minds of Jesus going through the crucifixion in an aloof state, needing no ones assistance. Yet, this was not the case. True, there we some things only Jesus could do, but He sought (Lu. 22:39-46) and accepted support where He could. How much more do we need the support of relationships?

Yet, Jesus was not needy. He told a group of women following and weeping for Him to save their tears for the terrible things that would happen to Jerusalem in the future (Lu. 23:27-31). When we're in trouble we usually think the world revolves around us. If I'd been there I would have said in my selfishness, "Darn right you'd better cry about what's happening to me!". But Jesus was other-oriented, and this is the kind of love He wants us to experience.

When they reached the "place called Skull" the soldiers crucified Jesus and began to torture and mock Him again (Lu. 23:32-38). What was Jesus response to this 'dysfunctional relationship'? He forgave them right then and there. How could Jesus do that? Even at my best it takes me a day or so of prayer to come up with forgiveness when someone does a major wrong to me.

To understand these relationships we must consider the reason Jesus went through with His death in the first place. He did it because His whole mission on Earth, the purpose of His death, was to restore relationships to and through selfless love (2 Cor. 5:19). And it worked! One of the thieves crucified next to Jesus said "I want to be a part of whatever a man like that is doing," and was saved that day.

Would you like to be part of what Jesus is doing? He is still able to give you His restoring love.

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