When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals–one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.” The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the Jews.
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Morning Prayer: Jesus, we celebrate today as Good Friday in remembrance of Your crucifixion on a Roman cross, the most cruel and painful death imaginable by human beings. People reacted in all sorts of ways to Your body hanging up on those wooden planks. Some tried to make personal gain, some mocked and sneered You, some even attempted to offer You wine vinegar to help with the pain. People around me today also respond in similar ways to the Easter season. Some ignore it altogether, some scoff at Your death and mock us for celebrating it, and some see you only as a man, not the Son of God. One criminal to Your side, however, saw the truth as I do—You are the sinless, atoning sacrifice for all of mankind hanging there on the cross. Help me today to speak out about You as this dying criminal did. Help me to humbly stand up for You today, and in the midst of all other voices, to point others toward the truth, toward You. They need to know You as I do—as Savior, Lord, King of Kings, Messiah, Friend. Let Your light shine through me today so that others can see You in me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Evening Prayer: Jesus, as it was the night that You were buried, I pray that You would remind me of how my sins died with You on the cross. Your cross is a symbol of hope for those of us that follow You because You took the place that we deserved. Just as Your body was laid in a tomb, help me to lay my sins forever in the grave and to embrace the new life that comes from following You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.