Thursday, March 21, 2024

Jesus’s Cry for the Forgiveness of His Executioners from the Cross

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Jesus’s Cry for the Forgiveness of His Executioners from the Cross - Luke 23:34 

-Submitted by Kay Crumley

How do we show love for others? Love is more than kind words or a lovely greeting card. Love is more than hugs, kisses, and expressions of intimacy. Love is action, putting our words into action, love is a verb. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. The list in this passage is a list of things we do for those we love. It isn’t about emotions. Consider your behavior in difficult situations, especially toward those you profess to love. As I read this list, I see that these are unselfish acts that are respectful and put consideration of others first. In verse 5 we see that love submits to the needs of others and doesn’t hold a grudge. There is nothing about seeking revenge. With that in mind, how do you expect Jesus to behave toward those who beat Him, mocked Him, and nailed His hands and feet to the cross?  

Jesus preached the famous Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. We see His teaching concerning loving others in Matthew 5:43-45 43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy.44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. Jesus came to change our thinking. The law that guided the Jewish nation prior to Jesus coming to earth, taught that we are to love our neighbors, but teachers of the day added that it was acceptable to hate you neighbor. Jesus corrected that to say we are to love our neighbors, and that all people are our neighbors. He even expanded it to extend our love to those who persecuted us. God does not play favorites; He sends sunlight and rain to all people. 

Now, as Jesus is coming to the end of His life on earth, He stills advocates for a love that is more than feelings or emotions but that is consistent and persistent. He had endured false accusations, humiliations of being spit on, He was made fun of, He was beaten, He was rejected by His closest friends, He was placed in the middle between two criminals as the place of the worst offender, and He was nailed to the cross. None of that altered His character. He didn’t turn away from His teachings at the beginning of His ministry. He was steadfast in all He taught and how He behaved, even to His last moments.  

As He hung there His thoughts were not on His own suffering but the spiritual health of those who put Him there. Luke 23:34 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing. And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. At His death, the earth shook, darkness fell over the land in the middle of the day, noon until 3 PM. The curtain in the Temple that separated man from God was torn from top to bottom. This was no ordinary death. Some who had scoffed at Him were so affected that they had a change of heart. Matthew 27:54 54 The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!” The Roman officer was a centurion, the commander of a hundred men. He was a career soldier who had witnessed many crucifixions, yet this one was different. He and his soldiers who had participated in the death of this man, Jesus, were terrified. Not only that but their hearts were changed. They confessed that He was truly who He professed to be, the Son of God. 

Do you know this Man who is different from any other? You can have a personal relationship with Him and trust that He will love you, no matter what you’ve done. Those of us who know Him are to emulate His attitude, His character. We do that by following His example, being His disciples. Jesus taught His disciples in John 13:35 to be different from the world, to be recognizable as His, By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. We can live the Jesus Way by loving others in actions that includes forgiveness 

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