|'The Raising of the Cross' by Peter Paul Rubens|
“For Christ died for sins once and for all,
a good man on behalf of sinners,
in order to lead you to God” (1 Peter 3:18, GNB).
For me, the greatest example of forgiveness is seen on the cross. Perhaps that shouldn’t be surprising, as Jesus went to the cross deliberately, for the purpose of, to earn our forgiveness by paying our ransom with His precious blood.
Jesus had been arrested, tried, mocked, tortured and flogged. As a man he had been so weakened by the beatings that He was unable to carry His own cross. Finally, the Roman soldiers crucified Him by nailing Him naked to the wooden cross. On the cross, Jesus’ first words were: “Forgive them, Father! They don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34, GNB). Why?
I can’t imagine, in His humanity, at the moment of the greatest possible physical, emotional and spiritual pressure, Jesus the Son of God showed what He is like, what God is like: forgiveness through and through. The soldiers were hurting the Son of Man, Jesus – yes – but it was God Himself who was greatly hurt by their sin-led actions. I think the religious teachers and the soldiers knew (consciously, if you prefer to use that word) what they were doing, but Jesus knew that deep down they did not know why they were doing it – sin.
Often I do wrong on purpose, and then few moments later, I wonder why I ever did it. We all had been through that kind of situations. The truth is we can’t help sinning because we are sinners by nature. No matter how strong-willed we are, how much religious and self-discipline we have become, how well trained we are (in NLP!, if you know that modern psychology term) – we are all sinners by nature. That was why Jesus’ prayed on the cross for the people around him. And that is why it always remains true and needed for us today for Jesus, the sinless one, to pray and plea for us: “Forgive them, Father! They don’t know what they are doing.”
And, do you know my friends, because of the sinless blood of Jesus on the cross, the Father does forgive us. If you are moved to embrace God’s Son for the forgiveness of your sin, pray to God in words like these (as your guidance):
Dear God, I’m convinced that Jesus suffered and died for my sins.
I gratefully trust in Him now as my Lord and Savior –
and the only way I’ll ever receive your forgiveness
and your promise of eternal life. Amen.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.