Father, Forgive Them

Luke 23:34: Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

This first saying of Jesus from the cross is traditionally called ‘The Word of Forgiveness’, theologically interpreted as Jesus’ prayer for forgiveness for those crucifying him, the Roman soldiers and all involved in crucifying him. Jesus on the cross forgiving the very people who put him there shows the kind of love, grace, mercy, forgiveness that God has for everyone. Not many of us could mirror the same kind of forgiveness that Jesus exhibits here in Luke’s Gospel.

When we abandon what we want for what God wants, forgive others when we want to punish them than we are suffering for and with Christ, no longer is our ego in control, but God is. Never are we really in control, but sometimes we pretend that we are, sometimes we like to think we. This is a lie. Yes, a lie; we delude ourselves to think that we control our life. Jesus is about shattering all false barriers that keep us from living an honest God centered life. Jesus shows us from the cross, from his suffering for all of creation what it looks like to let God be in charge.

Forgiving others is releasing the false notion that we are special that people who treat us badly need to be punished for it. When someone does something wrong correction is needed, but to punish is to dwell on those actions, to be trapped by the past. We forgive others in gratitude for the forgiveness and grace offered to us by Jesus’ work on the cross. Christians do not put themselves before others. Jesus on the cross, asked for forgiveness for those who put him there. He didn’t curse them. He forgave them. A key attribute of a Christian is forgiveness, because that is a key attribute of Jesus. When we center on Jesus rather than our own petty concerns and desires and we pray God’s will be done not ours and mean it that will produce a certain kind of suffering, but through this kind of suffering, we will transform into more Christ-like Christians.

Some say when you are going through hell keep going. Don’t stop. Keep moving. When in the midst of suffering if we listen to the darkness than we would wither and die. Some say to not doubt in the dark. If on the cross, Jesus had spit down on the Romans and cursed them, it would have ended differently. No resurrection. Drinking the cup in the midst of suffering means trusting that God has a reason for and a way out of our time of suffering that it will be for the good and all to the glory of God.

Luke 9:23: Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

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