Reading: Luke 23: 33-38
As we draw near to the end of our season in the Gospel of Luke, we come to the cross. In a way it is odd to come to the cross as we prepare to celebrate Advent, a time when we remember Jesus’ birth. Yet it serves to remind us of why Jesus needed to be born and to live among us. After all, Jesus came to die.
Oh how the people wanted to have a Messiah who would rid them of the oppressive Romans. They were looking for a new King David. During Jesus’ ministry He brought much healing and offered some great teaching on how God really wanted humanity to live together. For all who saw and heard Jesus or even just the stories, they all knew that Jesus was something special. But Jesus was not the kingly Messiah they wanted so they mocked Him on the cross. He did not meet their expectations so they ridiculed and abused Him, releasing some of their own frustrations with their current situation.
It would have been so tempting to lash out from the cross and maybe even to really save Himself. But Jesus came for a far greater purpose. To save Himself would have been selfish. Jesus always placed God first, others second, and Himself last. To save Himself would have gone against all that Jesus was and is. Instead, Jesus chose to give Himself. Instead of releasing His human form from the cross and wiping out the Romans, Jesus unleashed His divine self and defeated an enemy far greater and much stronger than any human empire. On the cross and in His resurrection, Jesus defeated sin and death. Sin and death had been ruling since the first sin entered the world through Adam and Eve.
This is why we come to the cross just before we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth. It is the greatest gift mankind has ever been given – the freedom from sin and death. Thank you Jesus.