Welcome, why not begin by listening to the Bible reading by clicking 'Find out more' at the bottom of this page. You will also find below a video for the whole family, and some thoughts on the passage.
In the reading that you have just heard read, which person who encountered Jesus do you relate to the most? Simon of Cyrene being forced to carry the cross? The women following, weeping and wailing? One of the criminals on the left and the right? The soldiers mocking Jesus? Or the centurion recognising something of who Jesus is as he dies?
At different points in our lives we may relate to different characters in this story. There are times when we are busy doing something ahead of Jesus, times when the sorrow of the crucifixion may overwhelm us. There will be times when we are guilty of sin, yet we don’t recognise the innocence of Jesus and other times when we feel the heaviness of our shame and ask Jesus to remember us.
What can we learn from the sinners on the cross’ encounter with Jesus? This is one of the moments in Scripture where we can really see that it is not about us earning God’s forgiveness but that it is freely given, we just need to come to Jesus and receive. The first criminal hurls insults at Jesus; his heart is hard and self-righteous. The second criminal is different. He acknowledges that he has messed up, he acknowledges Jesus for who he is and he asks that Jesus will remember him. This is repentance. It is turning away from the things we have done wrong and turning to Jesus. Where do we need to turn to Jesus right now? Where are we trying to earn God’s forgiveness instead of just receive it.
Take a moment now to acknowledge the sin in your life before God, and turn to Jesus, acknowledging your need for him. Then receive the forgiveness he freely gives you.
Jesus, I am sorry that I often try to earn your love and forgiveness. I am sorry that I think I can do things on my own, and I get it wrong. I acknowledge that I need you. Please forgive me. I receive your love and forgiveness for me - thank you.