Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Me too

I have often reflected upon the words Jesus uttered while hanging on the cross “Forgive them Father; they know not what they do”and each time I am amazed. When reading the account in the gospels I feel like arguing with God, “Yes they did know!” They were even there at the very end gloating over their perceived triumph over the thorn in their side. Adding literally insult to injury by mocking the fact that the Son of God would not allow himself to be crucified. In the face of the very ones who were responsible for the cruelty of the cross, all Jesus said about them was, “Forgive them!” There is part of all of us that kind of wish Jesus wouldn’t have let them mock Him. Wouldn't have let them get away with it, without them also going the way of Judas. Give them a little bit of what they deserve. Serve up a little justice on the spot.

This has always blown me away at the magnitude of Grace that was shown to those responsible for His death. It was shocking to those that heard it at the time as well. The greatest demonstration of love is not that we loved Him, but that He loved us while we were yet enemies of God. I am sure that the image of Jesus praying for them had to haunt many after His body went missing from the tomb, and hundreds of reports of seeing Him alive, and the boldness of the disciples in telling the story of His death and resurrection. I am sure the image of Jesus nailed to the tree praying, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do,” had to be one of the hardest images to shake free from their conscience in the following days and weeks or even years.

It has rattled me the same way here lately. It was not until reading John Stott’s book, “The Cross of Christ,” that he points out the motivations that each of the characters had, in playing their part in the crucifixion of Christ. Judas was motivated by greed, the Pharisees and Sadducees by envy/jealousy or by a desire for power, Pilate was motivated by fear/selfishness or just peer pressure, and the Roman guards appear to have been motivated by pride. Their sin was ultimately a handing over Christ to be crucified. It was a betrayal of the person and authority of Christ.

Any time I sin, it is not that my sin is any less a betrayal of Christ and His authority or any less of a handing Christ over to be crucified than theirs was. My longing is to hear, "Forgive Him Father, I've paid for his sin." Thank you Jesus!

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