Dr. Strange Love
Is it strange to you that the first word from Jesus on the cross was “forgive”? Isn’t this the ultimate reason that Jesus came: to forgive sinners? In forgiving sinners, He demonstrated a love that many thought was strange.
Throughout His earthly ministry, He had been criticized time and again for socializing, “partying” and eating with “sinners”, of whom all needed forgiveness. On occasion Jesus even pronounced people “forgiven”, (i.e. Luke 7:48, Mark 2:5), to the chagrin of the religious leaders present. Because of His great love for people, Jesus not only lived among us, He came to die for us. This was no ordinary love to be sure!
Waiting To Exhale
In Luke 23:34, we find that same word of forgiveness exhaling from his precious lips falling as grace upon the very people who hung Him on the dreadful cross. Wasn’t this a hard word for Him to utter? How could He so freely pray such a word of peace and generosity? They didn’t deserve it! Yet, Jesus had no inner battle or mental debate on the worthiness of the people for such a gift as forgiveness. He let it flow from His heart to His mouth and prayed a prayer to the Heavenly Father for all those present, past and future. This word of forgiveness was not just for them…it was for us: for you and for me!
It can be easy to think that events such as this with Jesus on the cross was a simple event in history. However, this historic event changed history and certainly changed my future! That single word of forgiveness brought the compassion of God to the lives of humanity. That single request abated the wrath of God toward us all. Jesus praying forgiveness was not simply a prayer request but a pronouncement upon us all. With Him bearing the cross, shedding His blood, and loving us til the end, Jesus’ word of forgiveness was stamped on the human race. Jesus forgave our sins and He has removed them from us! Sin has been paid for…in full! 1 John 1:9 states this beautifully: “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.
Maybe today you need to experience His forgiveness once again? Reflect upon your heart and how easily tempted, drawn away, and careless you can be. Think back on your actions of anger, lust, greed, selfishness, insincerity, jealousy, or whatever the sin.
Then look at the cross.
Realize that everything you have done and will ever do that is evil, vile, sinful and wrong is why Jesus came to die. Realize that it was those very sins and types of sins that put Him there.
Now listen for His voice.
Questions for reflection:
How strange is it for you to think of forgiving people like Jesus does?
What does love look like for you? Loving people who deserve it or don’t deserve it?
What word(s) do you think you would have uttered first?
How important has forgiveness been in your life?
Have you asked Jesus to forgive you?
Have you asked others to forgive you?
How does it feel to accept such a gift as forgiveness?
Why is it so hard to forgive?
Why is it so hard to be forgiven?