”Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[c] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” Luke 23.32-34
How could Jesus possibly offer forgiveness to the people who were crucifying him at the time of his crucifixion? How is this even humanly possible? After all that had done to him, the beatings, the jeering, the false arrest, and now they were physically killing him and Jesus wasn’t striking back. He was actually loving those who were putting him to death.
I feel like this would be near impossible for me. If someone was attacking me or my family, I would want to pull out my Glock and send a message (lol….sounds like a movie quote!) But seriously, I don’t know if I could refrain from defending myself. And even if I didn’t put up a fight, how would I be able to see through the hate to offer love?
The reason I couldn’t do it (at least not yet in my life) is because I’m not God! I am not Jesus. I am not the Messiah called to suffer for and save the world. Jesus had a distinct calling and he had the purity, holiness and righteousness to fulfll that mission. We have been given the Holy Spirit and God is making his home in us. I say ”making” because the sanctification process, at least for me, is still in process. Like Paul said, “the good I want to do, I do not do! Oh wretched man am I!” (Romans 7.19-20).
But there was one perfect man who was able to endure “the placed called the Skull” and come out victoriously. He was not filled with hate, or anger or vengeance. He died with love on his heart and forgiveness on his lips. The death of the Christ came at a terrible expense to his own being, but for humanity, was the greatest gift the world has ever seen.
For it has the potential to eradicate our sin, to erase our infirmities and to silence evil once and for all. The power of the cross offers us the power of freedom, of life today and eternal life to come.
Have you received the gift of salvation for yourself? Have you confessed your sin to your loving Father? Have you found peace with Christ? If not, then turn to him today. Discover his love, his peace and the kindness that comes from the One who overcame death by rising from the grave.
“O Lord God, I confess I am a sinner. I am not bound by my sin but sometimes I am tripped up by it. I am not a slave to my bad habits and poor choices, I am a slave to Christ, the righteous and Holy One. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your power and love. Help me know the truth of your promises and the beauty in your grace. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen