“And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”” Luke 23:34
From the cross on the hill of Golgotha Jesus cried out “Father, forgive them”. He wasn’t just addressing the Roman soldiers who have whipped Him, beaten Him, left Him bloodied and scarred before parading him to the outskirts of town and then driving nails into the hands that had once placed stars in the sky. He was addressing us.
When Jesus said “Father, forgive them” He was talking about you and me. It was our sin that led to Him going to the cross. It was our guilt and shame He died for. It was our sinful deeds that drove the nails in. We are the ones He died to forgive. There is not one person who has never sinned, who has never rebelled against God, who has never put themselves first rather than God. Our sin leaves us cut off, separated from God our Father.
Because of the cross there is now forgiveness for our past. There is grace to cover all our guilt. There is now no condemnation for those who have put their trust in Jesus. Our sin has been nailed to the cross. We no longer face wrath and death for Jesus has paid it all. Our own efforts could never have covered the debt we owed, but because Jesus – the only sinless, completely spotless, fully innocent One – went to the cross on our behalf and cried out “Father, forgive them” now our debt has been paid in full.
The Easter message is that there is forgiveness. The Easter message is that though we don’t deserve it, there is forgiveness. The Easter message is that though we could never hope to earn it, there is forgiveness. Forgiveness that is freely available yet that cost Jesus His all. Forgiveness that will undo the effects of the curse of the sin. Forgiveness that will restore us to a full relationship as sons and daughters of God. Forgiveness that testifies to the love that God has for us, love so amazing, so divine. Love that demands our soul, our life, our all.
The Cross remind us that not only have we been forgiven, but how much that forgiveness cost. It came at the price of the death of Jesus. He didn’t have to come. He didn’t have to die. But out of love He came. Because God so loved the world Jesus was willing to humble himself to death, even death on a cross. And we are left with a choice. There are only two ways to respond to that love. We can accept the forgiveness Jesus died to give us, surrendering our soul, our life and our all to God, or we can reject it. There is no middle ground. May this Easter be a time of remembering the heart of the Father is to love us. May this Easter be a time of remembering the heart of Jesus is to forgive us. May this Easter be a time when our heart is fully surrendered to praising His name forevermore.