THE FORGIVING CHRIST
"Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing' " (Luke 23:34, NIV).
The poignant portrait of the forgiving Christ is one of those representations that reveal His love for undeserving sinners. He became one with us and identified with us in our sufferings, temptations, and infirmities (see Hebrews 4:15). The trademark of Jesus' ministry on earth was that He "went around doing good" (Acts 10:38, NIV).
Then the saddest moment of history came when the people He came to seek and save rejected and denied Him. He was treated worse than a common criminal and brutally crucified on a cross in full view of a scoffing, mocking mob. Yet, as the spotlight turned on Him in the final moment of His agonizing death, He exclaimed, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34, NIV). Even facing death, Jesus lived what He preached. With deep sincerity, He had taught, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44, NIV).
Christ's prayer for forgiveness for His accusers and murderers was an inclusive prayer. It included the Romans and the Jews who had been instrumental in His crucifixion. In a wider sense, it also includes all sinners in all times. The prayer of the forgiving Christ contains very good news. The good news is that those who accept His forgiveness are truly and fully forgiven. Against their names is the word, Forgiven, stamped with His precious blood (see 1 John 1:9). "That prayer of Christ for His enemies embraced the world. It took in every sinner that had lived or should live, from the beginning of the world to the end of time... To all, forgiveness is freely offered."--The Desire of Ages, p. 745.
My Prayer Today: Lord, I am amazed by the all-embracing forgiveness of Christ. Thank You for including me in Your dying prayer. Amen.