(For the next seven days, Presbyterian Bloggers are posting daily devotions about Christ’s Last Words from the Cross. Some of their regular contributors – Sarah, Jody, Doug & myself – will be writing them. If you have any comments, meditations, or prayers to add to each post, please put them in the comments section.)
Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. Luke 23:32-34 (NIV)
It’s highly appropriate that the first words from Christ, as He was being painfully nailed to His Cross, should be about forgiveness. His whole ministry repeatedly emphasized peace and reconciliation, mercy and restoration. In the face of such excruciating pain, Christ does not forget His mission or message. Even from the Cross, He practices what He preaches.
Jesus puts Himself between God’s wrath and those who crucified Him. He cries out for mercy, not for Himself, but for those who abuse and attack Him. He advocates on their behalf, even although they do not know who He is, what He is praying, or what they are actually doing. They are killing God. They are destroying the One Hope that the world has of salvation.
Christ is the King of all Creation, and He is also King of His Crucifiers. They are sinfully ignorant; He is divinely tolerant. Anyone else in such pain would curse those around them, but Christ passionately cares for them and asks God to forgive them.
In this holiest of all weeks in the year, let us seek such mercy, discover grace, and offer forgiveness to those who hurt us.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, even from the Cross You teach us lesson of faith, hope, and love. Give us the courage to forgive one another; to be reconciled by Your grace; and to be reunited through Your amazing and fearless love. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John “Stushie” Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. He writes the daily devotional “Heaven’s Highway.”
The artwork is called “King for a Day,” by Stushie.