Tuesday of Lent 5
Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments … There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” — Luke 23:32-43
If someone had never read a Bible, I think this may be one of the most shocking scenes that they would encounter. The sinless Son of God hangs between two criminals. He has been mocked, ridiculed, beaten, and nailed to a cross. And yet, even in the midst of all of that, He speaks the words that are at the very heart of who He is and what He came to do: “Father, forgive them …” and “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
These words summarize this event and the Fifth Petition magnificently:
“Jesus, in your dying woes, Even while your lifeblood flows,
Craving pardon from your foes: Hear us, holy Jesus.
Savior, for our pardon sue, When our sins your pangs renew,
For we know not what we do: Hear us, holy Jesus.
Oh, may we, who mercy need, Be like you in heart and deed,
When with wrong our spirits bleed: Hear us, holy Jesus.” (LSB 447:1–3)
Dear Jesus, we ask that You would forgive us and cleanse us from our sins. Amen.