Saturday, March 27, 2021

Father, forgive them for they know not what they do

How many times have we read these words from the mouth of Jesus as He was being nailed to that horrible cross?  And when we read those words, we think along these lines, “Oh my, He’s asking God to forgive those Roman soldiers who are nailing Him to the cross.”  We marvel at Jesus’ ability to even think about them when the nails are being driven through His wrists and feet; when the pain must have been excruciating, unlike anything any of us have ever experienced.  

As I was thinking about the coming “Good Friday” remembrance, it dawned on me, “Wait, how many times could these same words apply to me? To all those who have believed and received Christ as their Savior? To all of humanity?”

If we’re honest with ourselves, though we may be true believers in Jesus’ death and resurrection, we still choose to sin, on occasion. We get selfish; we get prideful; we seek payback against someone who has messed with us.  If we’re honest, those words can apply to all of us, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”  

Yes, in the immediate context, Jesus is speaking of His executioners.  But let’s be real, when we are in “sin-mode,” that is, we’re acting totally self-centered or “human,” do we really know what we’re doing?  

One pastor defined sin as “temporary insanity.”  Think about that for a while. It makes sense because when we’re in our “right” mind, when we are walking by the Spirit, when we are plugged into our power Source, we would never do such a thing, or behave in such a manner. Ever heard someone say, “I can’t believe I did that?  What was I thinking?”

Jesus, in His Deity, is omniscient and knows all things; in His humanity, He experienced all things, except for sin (Hebrews 4:15).  He is able to relate to our weaknesses and, at the same time, He has the power and authority to forgive us all of our sins – past, present and even future. 

There has never been anyone like Him and there never, ever will be, no matter what the crowd may say. He is God, Incarnate (in the flesh); He came to reveal the Father’s love and compassion; He is “the way the truth and the life” (John 14:6), and He is so because of His death and resurrection.  

An unknown author wrote the following:  
   “Buddha never claimed to be God. Moses never claimed to be Jehovah. 
   Mohammed never claimed to be Allah. 
   Yet Jesus Christ claimed to be the true and living God.
   Buddha simply said, ‘I am a teacher in search of the truth.’
   Jesus said, ‘I am the Truth.’ 
   Confucius said, ‘I never claimed to be holy.’
   Jesus said, “Who convicts me of sin?”
   Mohammed said, ‘Unless God throws his cloak of mercy over me, I have no hope.’
   Jesus said, ‘Unless you believe in me, you will die in your sins.’”

As we prepare to celebrate His death and resurrection, let’s remember that we, who are born again, need His forgiveness, not for eternal life (that comes at the moment of true faith in Jesus), but to keep our relationship with God healthy and thriving.

As Paul reminds us in Romans 8:31-35, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also, with Him, freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”   The implied answer is, “no one and nothing” can separate us from the love of Christ; the love that He so clearly demonstrated on His cross at Calvary.

May the Lord bless you as you remember and celebrate our great, loving Savior, Jesus of Nazareth at this years celebration of resurrection Sunday.

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

By His Grace,
Gary T. Dromi, Ph.D., D.Min.