“Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Most of us know the story. Jesus has been falsely accused by the Jews, handed over to the Romans and now he has met one of the cruelest of punishments ever devised by man, crucifixion.
The Roman soldiers taunt Him as do the Jewish leaders. They scoff and jeer and hurl insults at Him. Remember not only was Jesus scourged within an inch of his life but he carried the wooden cross beam and then was pierced by three nails, which held him fast to the ancient implement of torture and death.
With all this in mind, He looks down at the people who are more like “raging bulls of Bashan,” and utters what may be one of the most profound remarks found in our Bibles.
Father forgive them for they know not what they do.
Jesus’ statement in the thick of being tortured to death, sets up a mandate for us who are His disciples. Essentially we are to forgive everybody, everything… period.
We are to pray for those who spitefully use us.
We are to bless and not curse those who insult or injure us.
We are to turn the other cheek to those who strike us.
We are to walk two miles instead of one.
We are to love our enemies.
Who among us can live up to this ideal? Yet, this is what the Christian walk is all about, learning, through the circumstances that life brings our way, to model what our savior did while He was on the earth.