In those days, all the tribes of Israel came to David in
Hebron and said:
"Here we are, your bone and your flesh.
In days past, when Saul was our king,
it was you who led the Israelites out and brought them back.
And the LORD said to you,
'You shall shepherd my people Israel
and shall be commander of Israel.'"
When all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron,
King David made an agreement with them there before the
and they anointed him king of Israel.
R. (cf. 1) Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. I rejoiced because they
said to me,
"We will go up to the house of the LORD."
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem. R. Let us go rejoicing to the
house of the Lord. Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD. R. Let us go rejoicing to the
house of the Lord. According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David. R. Let us go rejoicing to the
house of the Lord.
Brothers and sisters:
Let us give thanks to the Father,
who has made you fit to share
in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.
He delivered us from the power of darkness
and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation.
For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers;
all things were created through him and for him.
He is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.
He is the head of the body, the church.
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
that in all things he himself might be preeminent.
For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell,
and through him to reconcile all things for him,
making peace by the blood of his cross
through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.
The rulers sneered at Jesus and said,
"He saved others, let him save himself
if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God."
Even the soldiers jeered at him.
As they approached to offer him wine they called out,
"If you are King of the Jews, save yourself."
Above him there was an inscription that read,
"This is the King of the Jews."
Now one of the criminals
hanging there reviled Jesus, saying,
"Are you not the Christ?
Save yourself and us."
The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply,
"Have you no fear of God,
for you are subject to the same condemnation?
And indeed, we have been condemned justly,
for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes,
but this man has done nothing criminal."
Then he said,
"Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
He replied to him,
"Amen, I say to you,
today you will be with me in Paradise."
It was a very sad group of people going to the execution
that afternoon: Jesus, two criminals, policemen, soldiers,
the henchmen and their assistants. It was also a very glad
group of people too: the priests, the scribes, the
dignitaries, the Pharisees, and the magistrates who had him
condemned to death. Then there was the crowd that so easily
assembles on such disastrous occasions. In conformity with
the prevailing regulations, the reason for their
condemnation was mentioned above their heads. The
inscription above the man on his left read: 'robbery with
violence'. The inscription above the man on his right
read: 'robbery with violence'.
Though he was the big attraction, the crime was unspecified,
the guilt unproven, the argumentation unrecorded, the
motivation unfounded, but the accusation was forever nailed
above his head, "This is the King of the Jews." The priests
were laughing at him. They paid no attention to the two
others. They were not interested in them. They were only
there to see Jesus die, the man who had threatened their
setup and their income. The rest of the people were just
standing there, but they too, looked especially at Jesus.
There was no trace in him anymore. He had been mangled too
badly during the last twenty-four hours since his arrest.
And so it happened that the man who least of all wanted to
be king was made a king. It sounds like a fairly tale in
reverse, doesn't it? While the people were angry at their
aborted king and the disciples dejected over their almost
king, and leaders triumphant over their would-be king, there
was going to be some conversation before he relinquished
himself unto death. The priests had given up on him long
ago. The people were doing that now. After his death, they
would go home in utter silence, beating their chests in
horror and despair. They could not see any good anymore in
the one who had not stopped seeing good, a trace of
divinity, a trace of God's Kingdom in all of them, even the
smallest, the poorest, the most sinful, the most terribly
handicapped, the ones screaming with all kinds of evil
spirits in themselves.
When that prostitute came in and everyone said, "She is very
bad, a real sinner," hadn't he said, "I don't agree. There
is good in her, one will speak of her until the end of time
because of that goodness in her.
Hadn't he been the one who called Zaccheus down from that
tree when he was hiding, convinced of his sinfulness? And
yet Jesus said, "Zaccheus, don't be silly, come down. You
are the son of Abraham and I want you to be my host. I want
to be your guest.
Now death reigned. Evil seemed to have overcome. Hope was
definitely squashed. God seemed to be absent. Did he
himself not shout, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken
me? The priests started to jeer. They shouted: "Let God
help you. Where is your God?" The soldiers joined them in
their cheap fun. Even the robber on the left of him did the
same. Now the sun started to disappear. Dark clouds
gathered between the cross and the sun, the source of light
to the world. It became darker and darker. People had to
light torches to see one another, though it must have been
only about three in the afternoon. The earth started to
tremble, as if in despair, and no voice, no voice was heard
from above. God remained silent. A darker scene had never
When all hope seemed to be gone, the one on the cross at his
right spoke, and though he had no apparent connection with
Jesus, with his dying breath, he said, "You can't con a
crook; I know what kind of kingdom you have – and I want a
piece of it! Jesus smiled and sighed, "Finally someone
understands!" We might ask ourselves, "Do we really
understand the Kingdom of Jesus, the Kingdom of God?"
May God bless you this coming week with good health and also
in all of your other needs, most especially for the needs of
the sick and suffering, the lonely, the homeless, jobless,
and the forgotten. Yours in Christ –
(can be sung to tune of "O Beautiful For Spacious Skies")
O Father, God, we come to You;
Our hearts are full of praise.
Your faithfulness has blessed us so,
Our thanks to You we raise
You’ve never faltered in the love
Your mercy does impart,
You’ve never turned from us, O God;
Though we have grieved Your heart.
Apart from You, we’re nothing more
Than sinners who are lost,
Unfit to share the love that sent
Your Son to bear the cross.
Without the blood He shed that day
We’d have no peace within.
But as He died there in our place,
He saved our souls from sin.
And now, O God, we come to You
As children of the King!
We lay aside our selfish will,
Our hearts to You we bring.
O give us Lord, we ask of Thee
The power to know and do,
Just how to live our lives each day
That we may honour You.