This week’s reflections are written by Rev. Brian Johnson, one of our Associate Pastors here at St. Matthew’s
Today’s reading is Luke 23: 44-56
In verses 44 – 49, we read about the death of Christ. Those agonizing hours on the cross come to a climax. Luke describes the scene with the sun disappearing but it was 3 o’clock in the afternoon. To the early audience of Luke’s gospel, this moment would have caught their attention. Anything dealing with darkness would have been a sign from the heavens signifying the death of a great man and king. The tearing of the curtain in the Temple sanctuary has been interpreted to mean different things. The best description of the meaning of this event can be found in Ephesian 2:14-15, “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace”. Through Jesus’ death, access to God was made available to all, both Jews and Gentiles. After Jesus’ last words on the cross, you are given the immediate actions of three sympathetic groups. This parallels the three sympathetic groups we read about yesterday as Jesus was being led to the cross. The description of the Jesus burial in verses 50 – 56 highlights that it was a burial for a “just” man. Typically Pilate would not have given over the body of a crucified individual to family or friends for burial. However, when Joseph a righteous man from the Jewish high council requested Jesus’ body, Pilate obliged. Everything in this account shows that Jesus received a proper burial.
When we read the final moments of Jesus in verses 44 – 49, you are put in the crowd of bystanders. It is at that time we see the meshing of heaven and earth. The people there at that moment all witnessed something powerful. Something that they will never forget. When in your life have you seen moments when heaven and earth mesh? Was it a beautiful landscape or a miracle witnessed or the final moments before a loved one passed away? We need to take note of those moments that we see God show out and allow them to transform our lives.
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