From the Gospel according to Matthew 27:37-42:
And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews”. Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right hand and one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the Cross”. So also the chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the Cross and we will believe in him”.
As Jesus is now stretched out on the cross, with sharp nails being jabbed into his hands and feet, I am sure in addition to the incredible pain he is feeling, he is also feeling a real sense of abandonment from the people he loves so much. He has done nothing but good (not to mention the extent his good went) yet here he is being nailed to the cross, about to be executed with two criminals. He is being put on the same level as people opposite of him charged like one of them. But despite those watching and encouraging him to prove and free himself, he appears to accept his fate ahead of him. It is pretty obvious to understand the incredible fear going through his mind with the brutal execution of crucification. This is something not to be overlooked given he is only human.
When I think of this point in Jesus’ passion, I can find many relatable moments in my year both in community and at work. While at home, have I not joined in with the anger and frustration of others towards a particular circumstance or found myself in the drama of any event that is bound to happen when living in intentional community. We are a community where we are supposed to love and look out for each other but there have been moments where I found myself turning away from this or have joined in the group anger towards something we do not like. In work, there can be moments when I am trying to help somebody, mad at their circumstance, and they show me anger. That anger can then brew in me and I can then easily judge that person as bad. Many times, I understand their situation is bad but sometimes I find it easier to just say, “Screw that person”. We feel we try to help somebody and they act like this as a thank you? This is how Jesus must have felt when being crucified by those he loves so much. I am sure we can all find instances throughout this year where we can relate.
Dear Lord, help forgive me and all of us for the pain we have caused towards others. Help us see where we have opened a wound in another’s heart or prejudged someone or a group for the sake of going along with the easy route to find a scapegoat to a problem or challenge. Also, help us forgive others for causing harm to us. Let us see beyond the outer shell of what anger they have caused in us after showing love to them. Keep praying for them. But also, understand the fear, sadness, exhaustion and pain caused in us and keep praying to you for guidance. The largest step is yet to come but give us the strength to keep moving forward no matter how tough or painful that journey is. Amen