Jeremiah 23:1-6 & Luke 23:33-43

remember-me

An Activity

A Christ the King mobile

You will need:

  • 2 large paper plates (or 1 paper plate and a sheet of card)
  • gold thread or yarn
  • straw (as in bale of, not drinking straws)
  • gold paint
  • small sponges
  • scissors
  • hole punch
  • glue

Cut the centre flat section from the paper plate and sponge one side lightly with gold paint. Sponge the other plate gold on both sides. Set them aside to dry.

Punch holes on the paper plate ring.You need a hole at 12 o’clock for hanging, and extra holes at 4, 6 and 8 o’clock on the outside. You also need holes at 11, 12 and 1 o’clock on the inside of the ring.

Cut a length of thread for hanging and tie it at the 12 o’clock hole on the outside.

Cut the straw into short lengths and stick it in a spiky manner on one side of the paper plate ring. This makes a crown of thorns that reminds us of Jesus’ birth as well.

Cut the gold plate centre into 8 pieces, like a pizza. Turn the pieces pointy side out and stick them on the other side of the ring so that it makes a crown. You can add stickers for jewels if you like.

Cut shapes from the rest of the gold card to represent Jesus’ life. These could be a star, a cross, a crown, or any other shapes.(The curved plate edges make good fish.) Punch a hole at the top of each one and use the thread to hang the shapes from the mobile.

A Reflection

A dramatic monologue

I was sitting, reading the paper, when my so yells from the other room. “You’ve got to watch this! He’s on TV!” “Who is?”, I ask. “That nutter that everyone’s talking about. They’ve got him on the news. It’s just starting!”

So I watch. I’ve heard the gossip – everyone has – about this uneducated oik with ideas above his station. But it makes good telly and gives us something to talk about. Last week he was crashing the big city parade. It was all over the news. Made a right spectacle of himself, he did. It was all just a publicity stunt of course, and I bet the crowd was paid to be there. Still, it was more interesting than the footy.

So what’s he doing now? It’d better be good, it’s Sabbath this evening and I’ve got stuff to do. The cameras focus on a massive crowd. Another parade? Yeah seen that. Same old. I’m about to go when I see the ‘hero of the hour’ coming through the crowd. But this isn’t like last week. There’s no red carpet, no paparazzi, no flag waving or autographs.The crowd parts and he’s … oh.

I turn it off. I don’t want my son to see this. There’s enough violence without watching it on the telly too. It looks like that poor guy got on the wrong side of the State Security and no-one comes out of that well. How did it get this way? Wasn’t he supposed to be a king or something?

Of course, no-one believed him. We all had a bit of a laugh at him – I mean, he’s from Nazareth, and we all know the nothing good comes from Nazareth. That’s what my Gran says, anyway. But I suppose I had this sneaking hope that maybe she was wrong. Might be nice to have a king like David back again, get rid of this flippin’ State Security – bunch of heathens!

Anyway, I’d better get going. There’s this bloke I have to see. I hate this kind of thing, but I’d better go. I promised his wife I would. It’s an old work mate of mine, you see. We did our apprenticeships together, but he was caught nicking stuff and got chucked out and never made a straight penny since. We’ve stayed mates, but … he’s more rough than diamond, you know?

Yeah. Anyhow. Rubbish day. He’s finally got his comeuppance. I can’t say I’m surprised. Stupid idiot. He’s had it coming for years, but it doesn’t make it any easier. I promised I’d go and be there at the end, but I wish I hadn’t now.

I call to my son. “Just going out for a few hours. I’ll be back before Sabbath.”

. . .

So I walk down the road. It’s outside the city where they do … well, that’s where it ends. I meet the crowd I saw on the telly. They’re going that way too with the beat-up nutter from Nazareth. Might as well follow them, I guess.

Y’know, they were reading some stuff at synagogue last week that made me think. It was from the scroll of the prophet Jeremiah:’I will raise up up from David’s line a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.‘ (That’d make a nice change, I can tell you.) And then there’s that other bit: ‘See, your king comes to you,  lowly and riding on a donkey.‘ I can never remember where that’s from – Zechariah or Zephaniah or someone. Anyhow. I love that bit. Never understood it, but always liked it.

But it made me think. About the nutter. Last week. When he did that riding on a donkey thing and got his picture in all the papers, it reminded me. ‘Hosanna to the Son of David‘, the crowd was yelling – and there he was, that nutter, on a donkey – a donkey no less, and parading along like some kind of mini-Herod. Then he wonders why he gets into trouble with State Security!

But a donkey. Like Zechariah or whoever said. Was it just co-incidence? It makes you think, doesn’t it? The prophets. They couldn’t really be talking about him, could they?

 

But it’s daft, I mean, kings don’t look like that, no king I’ve ever seen anyhow. And not like this poor wretch here, struggling along the road, with the cameras licking up every juicy detail. Looks like he’s had quite a beating. What a mess.And this crowd has certainly changed its tune, bunch of hypocrites! They ain’t calling him a king now. Listen to ’em – huh!

. . .

And so we arrive and I watch. I try not to but the horror somehow nails my eyes to the scene. There’s my old mate getting himself spiked onto a Roman cross. Stupid, stupid moron! Why did you have to … Didn’t you think of your wife? Your kids? I catch his eye. We both look away, but I think he’s glad I’m here.

And then they do some other poor sod. Doesn’t look like there’s anyone here to watch with him. Not a surprise. You’re really on the scrapheap when you end up here. Even God doesn’t look down on a hell-hole like this.

And then – him. The nutter. Pity really. He seemed pretty harmless. My mate’s a bit rough – put a few blokes in hospital – but this guy, by all accounts, healed people – even scum like Romans and Samaritans. Dunno what he’s done to deserve this, but that’s the system for you.

. . .

They raise the crosses and drop them into the post-hole with a sickening thud that sounds like the door of heaven slammed shut.

And so I wait to watch my mate die. State Security pigs are playing dice. Nice. There’s some women crying by that bloke from Nazareth, but that’s about it. It’s going to be Sabbath soon. I hope it doesn’t take too long. No, that didn’t come out right. I meant for their sakes. They’re the scum of the earth I know, but he’s still my mate. And that one in the middle … what’s with him?

It’s a bit strange, actually. There’s no yelling, no spitting, no cursing God. If ever there was a time to do that, it’s now, but … no. Nothing. Never seen someone go so calmly to … this. I don’t even want to name it. It’s supposed to be a sign of God’s curse, isn’t it?

Then some idiots come from the town to laugh and throw insults at the dying. Prats! Get a life! That other bloke on the cross, not my mate, the other one, joins in the insults. He’s yelling at the Nazareth guy. Mocking him. Seriously? You’ve gonna have that as your final words? Some people never learn.

Then my mate opens his mouth. He’s nearly done, I can tell. I hope he has something better for his last words before he meets Abraham, if that’s where he’s headed. Please mate, for once in your life, make the right choice.

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Our Response

Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

Amen

Bible Text

Jeremiah 23:1-6 New International Version – UK

‘Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!’ declares the Lord. Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: ‘Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,’ declares the Lord. ‘I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,’ declares the Lord.

‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord,
‘when I will raise up up from David’s line a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
and do what is just and right in the land.

In his days Judah will be saved
and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
The Lord Our Righteous Saviour.

 

Luke 23:33-43 New International Version – UK

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.’

The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, ‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.’

There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’

But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’

Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’

Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’

New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


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