Lesson 11 - Father, Forgive Them

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him, along with the criminals - one on His right, the other on His left. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23: 32-33)

The ones who put Jesus to death had no idea that they were actually hammering the nails through the hands and feet of the Son of God. These blinded men thought that God was punishing a heretic for claiming to be the Son of God. In a sense, God was indeed meting out punishment. But it was for our sins and iniquities that Jesus was punished, not for anything he had done.

Isaiah the prophet speaks specifically of the misunderstanding of the people, as Christ carried all the sorrows that should have been ours:

Surely He took up our infirmities, and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. Buy He was pierced for our transgressions... (Isaiah 53: 4-5a)

The full purpose of God the Trinity was to forgive us, in the only way that is possible to do so. Even in His hour of greatest pain and suffering, the Son of God's greatest desire was for us to be forgiven. After all, this was the whole reason that He suffered in the first place.

Point to Ponder:

People tend to change their minds about many things when it is no longer convenient to keep their first opinion. We often back out of commitments when it is painful to remain faithful to them. Anything that we feel for another person is subject to change. God is different. He is not a man, that He should change His mind. Every promise he has ever made is absolutely sure for all eternity. He does not change. In the same way, we see that the commitment of love in Jesus Christ remained true through all of His pain and suffering, even up to the very end. He came to die, so that we could be forgiven. As He died, His purpose was still the same - He longed for us to be forgiven. And today, his desire is still the same. "Father, forgive them...