“Father, Forgive Them”

On this Good Friday and Easter weekend, we remember God’s greatest act of love and grace for humanity – the death of his son Jesus Christ for our sins. No longer do we remain condemned and enslaved to sin, but now we are set free, declared righteous and adopted into the family of God with an eternal inheritance. What a gift God has given us!

The Gospel of Good Friday

Resulting from one perfect and blameless man’s death comes eternal life to all who believe [1]. When God reveals this beautiful and gracious reality to his children, they are forever transformed. This transformation is given only by his goodness and grace for you – an underserved gift and knowledge that cannot be earned or attained [2]. Then, it’s in this transformation the former-self is spiritually crucified with Jesus on the cross and immediately born again in the power of the Holy Spirit. The new-self is no longer enslaved to sin and the ways of this world, but made alive for good works to love and bless the world.

So why recount this beautiful picture of God’s restorative power and grace? Because God’s heart hurts for this world.

Compassion over Judgement

As Jesus cried to heaven while hanging in agony on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34), I too pray for those who continue to live in ignorance or rebellion to the reality of a glorious new life. Just today, I’ve had multiple conversations with people in the community in one of my favorite public “offices” that reminded me about the lostness and ways of the world.

In Luke 23:34, as Jesus prays to the Father for forgiveness on behalf of those committing and cheering on this horrifying injustice being done to him, “the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.” Here’s the picture: the ways of the world go about its own self-centered, self-justifying, and self-gratifying means as their Lord and Savior (not just for the Jews) bleeds to death on their behalf and compassionately petitions the Father for their forgiveness (not their judgement) using whatever breath he has left.

As we consider our posture this Easter weekend, how are we choosing to demonstrate God’s love and grace towards a watching world? How are we declaring our allegiance to Jesus Christ over the self-gratifying ways of the world? How are we choosing selfless, compassionate love for our friends, neighbors and coworkers? Is our heart hurting for the lostness of the world? How will others see and hear the good news?

Easter is Everyday

As we reflect, remember that Jesus is enough. Cling to Him this Good Friday and Easter. Revel in His glorious grace. Be transformed by His compassionate love for you. Resist the temptation to “go it alone” and live according to the self-gratifying ways of the world. Live in the light of a restorative hope that is given to all who believe. Let the Spirit fill you and lead you in your new-life because one man died for all humanity, rose from the grave, and ascended to heaven where He rules and reigns over all creation. Allow God to use you where you are today to bless strangers and loved ones. Pray, “Father, forgive them,” for everyone you meet, especially those who abuse, ridicule, ignore, and reject you. Show them that Christ has loved you more than anything in the world can offer and that same love is available to them.

Easter is not an annual event, but an everyday reality. May we as followers of Jesus live in the truth and ongoing reality of the resurrection. We were once dead, but now we are forever alive and forgiven in Jesus Christ.

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[1] 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 21-23
[2] Ephesians 2:4-10

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