“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” —Luke 23:34
When Jesus hung on the cross, He modeled the concept of blessing our offenders in the most powerful way possible. His first words as He hung in unspeakable pain weren’t a cry of hatred and vindictiveness but a prayer.
In it we detect no anger or bitterness, no appeals for rescue. In the face of heinous rejection, injustice, and abuse, we hear words that are more powerful than human cruelty: a prayer of forgiveness.
That prayer was for the Roman soldiers who tormented Him. It was for Pilate and Herod, whose cowardice had sentenced Him here. It was for the mob crying out, “Crucify Him!” It was for His closest disciples, nowhere to be found.
And it was for you. And me. The only thing keeping us from experiencing the storm of God’s righteous wrath is the fact that Jesus covered us with the shield of His grace on that awful day, that glorious day, when He prayed through pain made even more biting because of our treacherous sin, “Father, forgive them.” And we are forgiven.
Make it Personal
Have you ever realized your part in nailing Christ to the cross? Have you experienced the forgiveness He died to purchase?