“Then one of the criminals said “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” he replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise” Luke 23:42
As we continue to explore the unique values of Jesus in order to imitate him, we must look to the central event of Jesus’ life. His crucifixion. Jesus called his disciples to pick up their cross and follow him. What does that mean? Theologian Robert Jenson wrote that the real God manifests himself so exclusively in suffering that no one could possibly seek him in self-serving fashion. The cross is where God serves humanity by suffering with and for humanity. To copy Jesus’ work on the cross is to be honest about the real pain and suffering in this world and then move towards it rather than deny or flee from it. This is not always about alleviating suffering but sitting with people in their suffering, so they are not alone. Often, we avoid suffering because we cannot fix it. Jesus entered our suffering and invites us to enter into the suffering of others.