Finally, they came to a place called The Skull. All three were crucified there—Jesus on the center cross, and the two criminals on either side. Jesus said, “Father, forgive these people, because they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. - Luke 23:33-34
What does a person think about when he is being crucified? When you are the Son of God dying for a lost world, you think of forgiveness. Jesus showed us how to react to the ones responsible for our agony! We are to pardon them for it! But how on earth do we do that? We pray about it! What a part prayer played in the life of our Lord—Jesus, hanging on the cross, was in prayer! He was in prayer for his tormentors. Whom did Jesus need to pardon? The disciples who forsook him and fled, the soldiers who played dice for his clothes, the Pharisees who railed at him, and the people who simply stood watching!
Who is causing your suffering? Have friends seen your misfortune and forsaken you? Have people railed at you in the heat of an argument? Have others simply stood seeing your pain and doing nothing to help? Whom do you need to forgive?
We are commanded to forgive by the one who forgave us. “Pray for those who despitefully use you, and forgive as you have been forgiven,” Jesus said. When we understand the breadth of Christ’s forgiveness, perhaps we will not find it impossible to pardon our own persecutors! Then we will need to tell those who have hurt us that we have forgiven them. Jesus prayed aloud, so everyone could hear: “Father, forgive these people, because they don’t know what they are doing.”
For Further Study: Luke 23:26-38
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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