Jesus’ first words from the Cross was one of forgiveness and it was addressed to God, his Father. Jesus basically asked God to forgive those who had hurt him. While I have studied the meaning of these words a few times in the past, I did not understand the extent of this Father Son interaction until recently, because of a life experience.
Reuben, our 9 year son was verbally libeled and attacked by someone, whom I feel is blinded by the god of the world (2 Corinthians 4:4). This was an unprovoked attack. As a father, my initial reaction was to lash back. After prayer and Godly counsel from my wife, I chose not to, conflicting in the battle between the flesh (wanting to fight for my son) and my Spirit (which was convincing me that God will fight the battles for us), which God beautifully did.
Yet, to be honest, I still find it incredibly difficult to forgive, something that I have realized that I must personally work on. Then I realized that if my son, Reuben, asks me to forgive this person, it would be relatively a lot easier, as the love for my son would trump any hurt or offense caused by anyone.
In fact, it also dawned on me that though the people lied and murdered Jesus, they were acting under the influence of the evil one, who had blinded their minds – they did not know what they were doing! which Jesus recognized and stopped God’s wrath from falling on man. He knew what was in man (John 2:25) and stopped God’s anger. Imagine for a moment, if Jesus had not stepped in and asked God to forgive his persecutors – I can only speculate that the result would have been catastrophic. God would have been completely justified even if he had undone all of creation for its fallen state.
If I, as an earthly imperfect father, can pent up so much anger in defense of our son, how many manifold times more would have been God’s, the Holy Father’s (John 17:11), anger on man, when the people attacked and crucified his only begotten perfect Son, Jesus Christ. Now I understand the implication and the impact of the first words of Jesus from the Cross of Calvary. On one hand, while it show Jesus’ omniscience of mankind and his love for the people, on the other hand, it implicitly it reveals to us the Love of God, the Father, for his Son, Jesus.
Points to ponder:
Being under the influence of the evil one, people may hurt us, without knowing (realizing) what they are doing and Jesus said, pray for those who persecute you and bless those who curse you. Yeah, it is undoubtedly hard to forgive, but as a Christ follower, we must (especially I must) follow Jesus’ example and call on him “Abba, Forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” and that is something that I ought not to merely ponder upon, but act on as well. (Coveting your prayers.)
Luke 23:34 (KJV)
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.