January 17, 2020 – Friday
Luke 23:33-34 NIV
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.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Comments – Part 1
These were not Jesus’ last words, but His first known words after being crucified, after being nailed to the cross. This is something to truly consider. Jesus’ hands and feet have just been nailed to the cross by Roman soldiers, then the cross was raised up and the bottom slides into what amounts to a large post-hole deep enough that it cannot fall over. Stones may be added to keep it stable and stationary.
After all of this what are Jesus’ first words? Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. Jesus is putting His own words about forgiveness into action. We may have thought it was just talk and not really necessary to forgive as Jesus has instructed and commanded us as has been noted in Matthew 6:14-15, in Mark 11:25-26 and in Luke 17:3-4. It was not just talk and it really is necessary if we wish to be forgiven ourselves.
Here we have a man without sin, with no need of forgiveness for He has never sinned against His Father. Never. Yet what does He do after being flogged, beaten, spit upon, and crucified? He says Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. We may be reluctant to forgive someone who has deeply wronged us knowing they do not deserve forgiveness, while ignoring the fact neither do we deserve forgiveness for we know – absolutely know – we have sinned against God. Yet here we have Jesus, the man who is fully human and fully God, without a single sin in His life dying for our sins. And His first act when nailed to the cross is to forgive. How then can we not follow His commands to forgive those who have sinned against us?
When we go to church this weekend we should keep His example for us front and center in our minds and hearts, how He chose to forgive when He was crucified. Always remember He did this as payment for our sins so we might be forgiven as well, if … . If we would accept Him as our Lord and Savior, repent of our sins, and forgive those who have sinned against us. He did not deserve what happened to Him and we do not deserve forgiveness of our sins, but we have that through the wonderful free gift of Grace if we will but choose it.