Father, Forgive Them…
“When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:33-34)
Those words… I can’t get them out of my head. Those words… they haunt me. They confuse me. They awaken me. They make my heart pound. They give me life! They are the words of ultimate love. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Jesus spoke those words as he hung naked on the cross. Roman soldiers had just driven spikes into his hands and feet. He was in pain, real pain. Yet, the source of his pain was not just that he was being executed, it was because he loved those who had placed him there. In this moment of agony, Jesus wasn’t thinking about himself. He was thinking about the ones he loved.
Who were they? His mother, Mary and the disciples, I’m sure. Yet more importantly these words were spoken about the Roman soldiers who had beat him, stripped him, and left him on the cross to die. They were spoken of the angry mob who cussed him out with every four letter word possible. Yet, Jesus did not hate them. He loved them. And here’s the real clincher. Those words that Jesus spoke from the cross, weren’t meant for just those gathered there on the hill called the Skull. They were meant for you and for me too.
You see, those words that Jesus spoke, “Father, forgive them,” they were the words that Jesus had been waiting to say all of his life. They were/are the words of salvation. This was the purpose of Jesus’ life…to speak these words from the cross. Here Jesus took my sin, your sin, and the world’s sin and washed them away with the power of God’s love. These words are simply incredible! They are the hope of the world. They are the life of the world. They are God’s love for the world.
My prayer is that these words will grab hold of you. I hope they echo in you and that you can’t get them out of your head. I hope they change you forever!
More importantly, I hope these words get passed on to a friend, a neighbor, a family member who needs to hear them most. Email a link this page to someone you love. Help them discover the power of these words for themselves. Amen.