Luke 23:26-56 (NRSV)

26 As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus.

27 A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him.
28 But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.
29 For the days are surely coming when they will say, “Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’
30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us’; and to the hills, “Cover us.’
31 For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
32 Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him.
33 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus a there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.

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References for Luke 23:33

34 [Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”] b And they cast lots to divide his clothing.

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References for Luke 23:34

  • Ğ 23:34 – Other ancient authorities lack the sentence [Then Jesus . . . what they are doing]
35 And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah c of God, his chosen one!”

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References for Luke 23:35

  • ğ 23:35 – Or [the Christ]
36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine
37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”
38 There was also an inscription over him, d “This is the King of the Jews.

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References for Luke 23:38

  • Ġ 23:38 – Other ancient authorities add [written in Greek and Latin and Hebrew] (that is, [Aramaic])
39 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding e him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? f Save yourself and us!”

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References for Luke 23:39

  • ġ 23:39 – Or [blaspheming]
  • Ģ 23:39 – Or [the Christ]
40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
41 And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into g your kingdom.”

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References for Luke 23:42

  • ģ 23:42 – Other ancient authorities read [in]
43 He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land h until three in the afternoon,

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References for Luke 23:44

  • Ĥ 23:44 – Or [earth]
45 while the sun’s light failed; i and the curtain of the temple was torn in two.

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References for Luke 23:45

  • ĥ 23:45 – Or [the sun was eclipsed.] Other ancient authorities read [the sun was darkened]
46 Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.
47 When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent.” j

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References for Luke 23:47

  • Ħ 23:47 – Or [righteous]
48 And when all the crowds who had gathered there for this spectacle saw what had taken place, they returned home, beating their breasts.
49 But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
50 Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph, who, though a member of the council,
51 had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God.
52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid.
54 It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning. k 
55 The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid.
56 Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments. On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

Luke 24:5 (NRSV)

5 The women a were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men b said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.

DEVOTION – B.J. Woods (Texas)

Friday was a bad day.  The sky turned dark in the middle of the afternoon as a devastating tornado, approached.  Once the storm passed, a mass of broken glass, bricks, trees, and twisted steel remained.  The day that followed the storm in Mississippi left many people wondering where they would live, how they would recover from their losses, where they would work, and how life would go on.

The Friday described in Luke 23 was also a bad day.  Jesus had been arrested and sentenced to execution on the cross.  As the day progressed, it got worse.  Jesus was led outside the city, mailed to a cross, and left to die.  Late that day, his followers were allowed to claim, the body and place it in a tomb.  The day that followed Jesus’ death was also a day of confusion and uncertainty.  Many people had attached their hope and expectation to Jesus.  And now that hope was dashed.  In the eyes of the early believers, all was lost.

Too often in the aftermath of tragedy we lose our faith and embrace des pair.  We forget the promises in the Bible and the words of Jesus.  We see no answers to our situation.  In these times, we can remember that a new day is coming, just as it did that very Easter morning.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Easter morning promises that dark days do not last forever.

PRAYER: O God, help us to recognize that Christ is standing with u s as we go through dark days.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: SURVIVORS OF NATURAL DISASTERS

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