How do you prepare for the worst day of your life? In our Good Friday passage, Jesus provides us an example to follow. Jesus lived out His last minutes just as He had lived His entire life: by caring for others. Even while He was being mocked by one criminal, He invited the repentant criminal to join Him in Paradise that very day (Luke 23:43). Then, He used His final breath to say one last prayer to God His Father. Jesus’ humble spirit and sacrificial attitude—even in death—caused a Roman Centurion onlooker to proclaim, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” (Matthew 27:54, NRSV)
I pray that you never have a day as bad as Jesus’ last human day on earth. But we do know that in this life, we will all have times when we have to prepare for the worst: When the test results come back. When we get a call from HR. When the police officer knocks on our door. When the doctor says, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do.”
When the worst happens, there are two things we can say: “Lord, into your hands I commend my spirit” and “Remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” The first is our prayer to place all situations into God’s capable and loving hands. We commit and commend all things to God, even our worst and hardest days. The second is our reminder that God’s Kingdom is only partially fulfilled here on earth and is yet to be fully realized. In God’s coming Kingdom, there will be no more pain, sickness, tears, or death. That future Kingdom is our true, eternal home, and we long for that day when it will be complete.