As Johnathan suspected yesterday, today Elfie met us with an art project involving a cross. Elfies was a bit more colorful that Jesus’s was. Luke 23:33-46, 50-56:
33 The soldiers brought them to the place called the Skull. There they nailed Jesus to the cross. He hung between the two criminals. One was on his right and one was on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” The soldiers divided up his clothes by casting lots.
35 The people stood there watching. The rulers even made fun of Jesus. They said, “He saved others. Let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”
36 The soldiers also came up and poked fun at him. They offered him wine vinegar. 37 They said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
38 A written sign had been placed above him. It read,
this is the king of the jews.
39 One of the criminals hanging there made fun of Jesus. He said, “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself! Save us!”
40 But the other criminal scolded him. “Don’t you have any respect for God?” he said. “Remember, you are under the same sentence of death. 41 We are being punished fairly. We are getting just what our actions call for. But this man hasn’t done anything wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
43 Jesus answered him, “What I’m about to tell you is true. Today you will be with me in paradise.”
44 It was now about noon. Then darkness covered the whole land until three o’clock. 45 The sun had stopped shining. The temple curtain was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my life.” After he said this, he took his last breath.
50 A man named Joseph was a member of the Jewish Council. He was a good and honest man. 51 Joseph had not agreed with what the leaders had decided and done. He was from Arimathea, a town in Judea. He himself was waiting for God’s kingdom. 52 Joseph went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 53 Joseph took it down and wrapped it in linen cloth. Then he placed it in a tomb cut in the rock. No one had ever been buried there. 54 It was Preparation Day. The Sabbath day was about to begin.
55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph. They saw the tomb and how Jesus’ body was placed in it. 56 Then they went home. There they prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath day in order to obey the Law.
This is a story the boys were pretty familiar with, and most of you probably are too. It’s hard to talk about isn’t it? Every time I read this story, or watch a movie, or hear a sermon….it never stops being heart breaking. And I pray it never will. Watching the boys go from a happy morning of finding Elfie, to a saddened faces of grief and pain was very hard. My purpose in this lesson was not to make them sad or make them feel guilty for all their sins. I believe it is absolutely necessary to understand what Jesus went through for us. Even at their young age, I want them to know that while Jesus had all the power to stop His suffering, that He CHOSE to remain in it for us…..for them. It was brutal. It was unkind. It was not deserved. The criminal at Jesus’s side could even see that. I think the hardest part about today’s lesson was not talking about tomorrows lesson to cheer everyone up. But I think it is needed…..I think we all need to remember what He went through for us all through the year, not just at Easter when we all watch the Passion movie. I think we should all wake up being humbled by what a high price was given for our redemption.
We imagined what it must have been like to be on that hill that day. To watch darkness cover the land and to hear the thundering clap of God’s mighty hand. What a heartbreaking scene that must have been. My favorite part of today was hearing Johnathan comment about the “storm” that came when Jesus took His last breathe. With a very firm look, Johanthan sat up straight, crossed his arms and said, “well I bet what God made the earth dark and that storm came and broke the temple thingy…..I bet they all knew then! They all knew that they had done a bad thing and that Jesus was real!” And with that we will see you tomorrow with some good news……….