Morning readings: Psalms 84; 148, 1 Kings 11:26-43, James 4:13-5:6, Mark 15:22-32
“Those crucified with him also heaped insults upon him.” - Mark 15:32b
The gospels tell us that when Jesus was crucified, two bandits – sometimes called thieves but likely convicted as insurrectionists since crucifixion was reserved for enemies of the Roman state – hung on crosses to either side of him. In Luke's gospel one of them defends Jesus against the mocking of the crowd and the other bandit, but in Matthew and Mark they both join with the crowd.
Are we more inclined to prefer the version with the "good" thief? Which do we think is a more likely
None of us wants to be a bad thief, but before we can be the good thief we have to be honest about our own shortcomings. Once we find the strength that is present in true humility – not the kind that shames us but the kind that frees us – we are more compassionate with ourselves and others. Let's not wait until we come face-to-face with Jesus to find that humble strength. Today we can admit our burdens are sometimes more than we can bear with grace, and lay them at the foot of the cross. Without that weight, just maybe we can help lift someone else up too.
Evening readings: Psalms 25; 40