The other day I overheard a conversation which went something like, “I don’t believe he did that to you!!” To which the reply was “Well he did, and for that I can never forgive him!!” It made me think of you Jesus and one of the prayers you uttered while dying in agony on the cross, “Forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34). What a lesson for us all. There you were Jesus in agony having undergone a cruel flogging that took the skin off of your back, being made to carry the heavy rough wooden cross to which you were nailed, praying to your Father in Heaven that he should forgive your torturers. I find this incredibly amazing that you Jesus can pray for bad people, doing bad things to you in the midst of a desperate situation. You know Jesus how difficult I find it to pray for bad people doing bad things. With this prayer you are putting into practice what you taught your disciples and others: ‘But to you who are listening I say: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who ill-treat you’ (Luke 6:27-28).
Help me Jesus to pray forgiveness and blessings on people I know or hear of who do bad things, for those who have hurt me who I find difficult to forgive .
In the midst of your own agony Jesus your concern remains for others. You come, perhaps for the first time as an advocate for others, highlighting the fact that they did not understand that they were mocking and torturing you, their Messiah. You offered this to Abba, your heavenly Father, as a reason , or extenuating circumstance for their behaviour.
What a love you show! And what a hope you give! A hope, that is part of the message of Easter; that you Jesus are our defence lawyer in the courts of heaven; you are our advocate. The apostle John writes in 1John 2:1, ‘My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.’ There is no sin that cannot be forgiven no matter how bad or ‘big’ it is. You Jesus ask your heavenly Father to forgive me, offering every possible excuse in mitigation.
But even so in defending me, you also hung on that cross for me in order to redeem the consequences of my rebellion against your Father’s will; restoring me to a rightful and fruitful relationship with him. In dying on the Cross and Rising from that death you rescued me from death and restored me to new life. A new life with God your Father to be found in you and, for me and those who believe, as co-heirs with you in your Kingdom; but only because the events that occurred during that first Easter weekend.
What a Saviour you are! In the presence of such love I can only fall on my face and worship you my Lord and King!