Prepare to Listen. Pray with Jesus and with those who suffer today: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? (Psalm 22:1)
Prayerfully Read Luke 23:44-49
44It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’ Having said this, he breathed his last. 47When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, ‘Certainly this man was innocent.’
48And when all the crowds who had gathered there for this spectacle saw what had taken place, they returned home, beating their breasts. 49But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
Jesus died and the Roman centurion guarding the cross, to whom Jesus was just another criminal, turned his face upward, and he saw God. Perhaps for the first time in his life he burst out in praise to the God he saw.
Jesus died and the crowd that came to watch a “spectacle,” perhaps with their picnic baskets and games, turned their faces inward, and they saw themselves. They changed their minds about Jesus and what they had done to support his death. They went home beating their breasts, a sign of repentance.
Jesus died and the women who’d made the long journey from Galilee and remained close to Jesus, turned their faces outward, they saw Jesus dead on a cross. They stood at a distance and watched. Were they praying for a miracle? Longing to take done the body and prepare Jesus for burial? Because they watched, they got their chance to be heroic and compassionate (as we’ll read tomorrow).
Jesus died, and the male disciples were nowhere to be seen. They looked neither upward, inward nor outward. They saw nothing.
Imagine the scene and determine where you’d be and what you’d see.
Respond to Jesus
Lord Jesus, your death had immediate effects on very different people as they saw truth they’d been ignoring for too long. Help me today be open to you as I practice looking upward, inward and outward. Amen.
Live obediently. Look upward, inward and outward today.
I began reading my Bible when I was 8 years old. I loved it then (albeit didn't understand much) and I still love reading and studying it. I may understand a little more but I keep learning new stuff, seeing things I missed for years. This journey with Luke during Lent has been another new learning experience for me, deepening my relationship with Jesus. I pray it will do the same for you.