Greetings Redeemed of God,
I remember it well, August 16th, 1977, waking up, coming out of my room and finding my mother crying. I was almost 13 years old, and wondered what all the fuss was about. Elvis was dead...the king of rock and roll. The headlines for that day were, "the king is dead". He was loved by millions across the world; over 400 songs and more than 260 million records sold - dead at the age of 42, from a heart attack. Ridden with fame and fortune and crazy idol worship, he died of overeating and pill popping - an inability to cope with his own success and lifestyle.
At one of his concerts, a fan was holding up a sign that read, "you're the king". Elvis stopped his show and went to the fan, thanked her for her sentiments and declared to her and the whole world, that there was only one King, Jesus Christ! Those who knew Elvis, knew he had a deep faith in Christ, and loved to sing about Him. His friends believe that the king of rock and roll, is now in the presence of the KIng of Kings. Why? Because Elvis knew he was in need of a Savior to deliver him from his sins.
Our reading today takes us back to the death of the only King worthy of worship - Jesus our Lord. This King was loved by many, touched the lives of many, never wrote a song, produced an album, held a concert, sought fame and fortune, nor traveled the world as a superstar. Yet, His fame is renown, not so much for His life, but for His death (and resurrection). Millions and millions of lives have been transformed by Him, including the life of kings and princes, and even king Elvis. Jesus is the King of kings, to which every knee bows.
THE KING IS CRUCIFIED (vs.26-43)
He was led away as a criminal (vs. 26) followed by His admirers and fans (vs. 27), and crucified, murdered by slow, painful means, between two criminals, naked for all the world to see (vs. 32-33). People watched and laughed, and mocked Him (vs. 35-37), even mocked by one of the criminals crucified beside Him (vs. 39). This KIng (vs. 38) was innocent (vs. 41). Yet, He was dying not for His own crime, but the crimes of all humanity, committed against a Holy God. God was being killed for the sins of the whole world. One sinner mocks, another sinner believes, and is promised eternal life (vs. 40-43). Jesus hangs between all sinners; each has a choice to believe or mock. One decision changes your destiny forever!
THE KING DIES (vs. 44-49)
The lights go out. Darkness covers the land. The wrath of God is being poured out on His one and only Son! The sun stops shining, so does the Son (vs. 44-45). The curtain of the temple is torn in two. One can now see right into the Holy of Holies, where God dwells (vs.45). Don't miss it! The death of the Son of God, the King, allows access into God's presence (Hebrews 10:19-22). In Luke, Jesus says two things from the cross: "Father forgive them" (vs. 34) and "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit" (vs. 46). The Son has accomplished His mission: paid for the sins of the world by taking the wrath of God for us; now the Father can now forgive those who receive the Son's sacrifice, and the Son can return to His former glory at the right hand of the Father. Many people who were watching were deeply moved at what they saw. His followers, "those who knew Him", especially the women, are singled out. His life and death impacts many. There are always spectators and followers, which are you? (vs. 47-49)
THE KING IS BURIED (vs. 50-56)
Jesus is buried in someone else's grave, by someone who is waiting for the Kingdom of God. Did he realize that he was handling the body of the KIng of the Kingdom he was waiting for? In order to see the kingdom, one must lay hold of the King! It's late Friday afternoon, and the Sabbath would start that evening. Joseph had to get the body buried before the Sabbath started (vs. 54). The women are again singled out, as Luke has done throughout his gospel. Jesus even takes time out of his death march to speak to grieving women (vs. 27-31). Women who were oppressed and segregated in those days, are elevated by Christ and allowed to participate fully in this new covenant of Grace, through Christ. Jesus is the savior of ALL mankind! It is interesting that the Sabbath is mentioned twice. For the new church community formed after the resurrection, they would celebrate on The Lord's Day - resurrection Sunday, not the Sabbath Friday. The new will replace the old - we focus on life not death! (Hebrews 8:13; Colossians 2:16-17; Galatians 4:9-11) The cross of Jesus sets us free from the power of sin and death!
Here is the king of rock and roll, singing about his King, dying on a cross
Elvis sings, "the Old Rugged Cross" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvPxjLG7ReQ
Have a great week reflecting on the cross!
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