Thought of the Day March 14, 2019 Father, forgive them

By 9:32 AM

Jesus is hanging from the cross. Jesus has undergone in the last nine hours great sufferings:  his agony in the Garden, where he was assailed with his greatest temptation, to turn away from the will of the Father; the betrayal of Judas with a kiss; the desertion of his closest friends and companions, the apostles; the three-fold denial of Peter out of fear; the trumped up charges and accusations of blasphemy by the religious leaders who have been plotting to take his life for months; the cave-in to pressure by Pilate, condemning him to death on the cross; the sadistic scourging by the soldiers; the mockery of Jesus by the soldiers in crowning him with a crown of thorns; the long journey carrying the cross; the stripping of his clothes, the nailing of his hands and feet to the cross; hearing the ridicule and mockery of the religious leaders as he hangs from the cross with difficulty breathing.

Listen to Matthew’s version of the scene.
"Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, 'You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, if you are the Son of God, [and] come down from the cross!' Likewise the chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him and said, 'He saved others; he cannot save himself. So he is the king of Israel! Let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now if he wants him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God. The revolutionaries who were crucified with him also kept abusing him in the same way.'

The majority of bandits and criminals, defiant and furious, would yell curses and insults while hanging from a cross, but Jesus, filled with an amazing calmness and an inexplicable love, interceded with the Father for the forgiveness of his torturers.  Jesus does not act out of anger or revenge. Instead, at the height of his physical sufferings, he prays to the Father, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”  He was including all those who in the past nine hours did him harm. But in all reality he included all those whose sins he had taken upon himself and for which he was denying on the cross. That includes you and me.  Reflect on this.

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