There were three responses to Jesus when he was crucified.
Some of the people watching him were indifferent. The greatest event in history was happening right in front of them and they didn't know it. They were just casual observers. They had seen crucifixions before. It wasn't a big deal. Jesus wasn't a big deal.
Some of the people surrounding the cross were antagonistic. They mocked Jesus. They struck him. They rejected him as their Messiah.
The third response was saving faith. Many people had trusted in Jesus as the Messiah after they saw him raise the dead, heal a blind man, cast out demons, and feed 5,000 people. But the thief who was hanging on the cross next to him, placed his faith in the crucified Christ. This man showed great faith by believing in a Jesus who was beaten beyond recognition and nailed naked to a cross. To him Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise." The thief did nothing to save himself. He didn't have perfect attendance at the temple, he wasn't baptized, he didn't tithe regularly or feed the poor. He was helpless to save himself--as are we. Saving faith is in Christ alone, not in anything we can do. We cannot add to his sacrifice. He died "once for all" and then said, "It is finished."
The responses to Jesus are the same today as they were 2,000 years ago.
Some people are indifferent. They are busy deciding what color to paint the kitchen, where to go for their vacation, or who will be the next American Idol. They don't think about whether or not Jesus is who he said he is. They don't think about him at all.
Some people are antagonistic. They don't want the Ten Commandments posted where anyone could read them. They don't want anyone to pray in Jesus' name at a football game. They don't want teachers to take a Bible to work. They want people to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. They reject Jesus.
Others respond with the faith of the thief who trusted that Jesus was who he said he was. He trusted in what he could not see. Today people place their faith in the resurrected Christ. Today people trust in what they can only know by faith. "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John
So what is your response?
If you are in the midst of grief and death, take heart... Easter is coming!
"Because of God's tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace." (Luke 1:78)