Crucifixion was one of the most cruel and painful forms of execution ever devised. The victim was nailed to a cross-shaped piece of wood and left to dehydrate or bleed to death as others watched on.
And yet at this point Jesus spoke again to his Father God. This time it wasn’t to ask to be rescued. Instead he was praying that the people who crucified him would be forgiven.
Forgiveness is not just a feeling. It’s also a choice. We can only really forgive the people who have hurt us. Notice that Jesus asks God to forgive his murderers – as if God is the one who is really being wounded.
Even hardened soldiers must have gone home after a crucifixion, washing the blood from their clothes and thinking about the terrible suffering they had inflicted. I wonder what the soldiers who heard Jesus’ prayer were thinking.
When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”
And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
When they got to the place called Skull Hill, they crucified him, along with the criminals, one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.”
And when they came to the place which is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
Jesus did not ask his Father to rescue him, but asks his Father to forgive the ones carrying out this unjust act. Forgiveness for all your sin was the reason Jesus allowed himself to go to the Cross. Thank him for this incredible act of love.
Have you ever done something wrong and been forgiven?
What was the effect of the forgiveness?
Who needs to hear that you have forgiven them?