Stop sitting silently for a moment and repeat this sentence out loud. Listen to yourself as you say the words:
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34a)
What is Jesus saying? In his last hour, Jesus offers up a prayer, a specific request to God. Whats crazy to me is Jesus isn’t asking for anything for himself! I would be terrified and overwhelmed, trying desperately to retain my composure. My prayer would probably be: “God help me!” if I could say anything at all.
But Jesus’ prayer is one of radical unselfishness. He is concerned for the people who are responsible for crucifying him and is asking God to forgive them. Instead of thinking of himself and his own needs, he is thinking of others.
Question of the day:
Who was he thinking about when he prayed this prayer? Judas (a friend who betrayed him)? Pilate(the one who broke the law and gave the order for his crucifixion)? The Roman soldiers (the evil in front of him)? The Pharisees & Sadducees (the community leaders & religious lawmen)? The chief priests & scribes (religious leaders who hated him)? The disciples (who had abandoned him)?
Perhaps he was forgiving YOU & ME? Because ultimately all of us were the reason he went to the cross in the first place.