A Good Man Is Hard To Have Around

Scripture: Luke 23:32-46

Flannery O’Connor’s famous short story, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” explores human nature in terms of good and evil; and moral development. It involves an escaped convict simply called the Misfit and his eventual unnerving encounter with a family on a road trip. One of the more unnerving aspects of the story is how it forces us to encounter evil, and consider how it may not be merely something out there, but something within each of us.

In the Good News of Luke, Jesus the Christ is assigned to be executed with two other criminals. The crowd of people are watching, perhaps slack-jawed. The leaders are sneering at Jesus, and questioning his ability to liberate others and fulfill his role as the Chosen One of God. The boots on the ground of the imperial soldiers are mocking Jesus, and calling into question if he can really be the anticipated King at the climax of Hebrew history. Even one of the enemies of the state assigned to execution with Jesus  is questioning if he can effect any real change and spare himself and the criminals from their certain deaths.

The execution of Jesus the Christ shows us what lies within us all.

The religiously respectable, the common crowd, the tried-and-true troopers, and even the infamous inmates have all either passively or actively turned on the Son of God.

And so it is with all of us. Both the best of us and the worst of us have all-together selfishly turned on the Goodness, Beauty, Truth, Wisdom, and Justice of God.

Yet, we are not without hope. The Gospel of Luke also records one of these corrupt criminals turns to Jesus. His life sees the gross disparity of the sinless Son of God suffering with and as a scoundrel.

“Jesus, remember me.”

And before Jesus entrusts his life into God’s care, he cares for one more wayward soul and assures the culprit he is on the Way too.