From Lent for Everyone, Luke, Year C. I encourage you to add this book to your collection.
[T]his moment [of crucifixion], this bloody and dark moment, this miscarriage of justice, this terrible suffering, this offering of Jesus of his full self to the will of God—this is how God is dealing, in sovereign, rescuing love, with the weight of the world’s evil and pain, and with death itself. Jesus is the green tree, the wood that wasn’t ready for burning, dying in the place of the dry trees, the people all around who were eager to bring in the kingdom in their own way rather than God’s way.
So we draw all our prayers together in daring to echo that strange request made by one of the brigands alongside him: “Jesus—remember me when you finally become king.” That is often as much as we dare say.
But Jesus surprises us, as he surprised the brigand, by his response. He is becoming king, here and now. No more waiting. “Today.” In the brigand’s case: paradise now, and resurrection still to come. In our case: forgiveness, healing and hope, here and now. And the call to serve, and to give ourselves, as he gave himself for us.