(This preaching first appeared on theWord on Palm Sunday, 2011)
Two bandits were crucified with Jesus, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, â€œYou who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.â€ In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, â€œHe saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, â€˜I am Godâ€™s Son.â€™â€ The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way. From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three oâ€clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, â€œEli, Eli, lema sabachthani?â€ that is, â€œMy God, my God, why have you forsaken me?â€ When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, â€œThis man is calling for Elijah.â€ At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, â€œWait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.â€
Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split.
Scripture passage from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.