Luke 23:34 Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Song – to the Irish tune of Cockles and Mussels
In God’s Holy City,
Where we were shown pity,
When Jesus the Christ died upon Calvary,
As He suffered and bled,
Our Savior He said,
“My Father, forgive them, and save them for Me.
O save them for Me, O save them for Me.
My Father, forgive them and save them for Me.”
I can remember almost 25 years ago when my first daughter was born. Both my wife Evelyn and I felt both the joy of bringing a new baby into the world, but also the deep anxiety of not knowing what to do next. There are no instructions or blueprints that come with a baby and if truth be told, most parents wing it on a day to day basis. Every child is different and each precious baby has their own unique personality. What works for one, will not work for another child. We learned this the hard way when our second daughter was born two years later. We soon realized that all that we had learned with the first child was not applicable to the second.
Not knowing what to do because of inexperience happens to us all. When we first learn to drive, we have to be taught what to do step by step, gear by gear, and street by street. We can’t suddenly take the car keys at the age of sixteen and expect to drive. We have to know what we’re doing, we have to know where we’re going; we have to think about where we’re driving and how fast we are moving. To get in a car and drive without knowing the basics is just asking for trouble.
Crucifying the Christ, the Holy Son of God, was the ultimate act of human ignorance. The people had seen and experienced Christ’s miracles. They had heard His teaching and wondered at His miracles. He had brought them closer to God than any other prophet or religious leader in their history, but they ignored the Truth He proclaimed, cast aside His way for their own understanding, and chose to take His life rather than accept His lifestyle choices. They thought that they were getting rid of another false messiah, a theological trouble maker, and religious rabble rouser, but what they were actually doing was killing the Son of God.
Jesus could have called down a thousand angels to protect Him. God could have stopped the crucifixion at any time and destroyed His holy city. Instead of judgment and wrath, Christ calls for gentleness and redemption. Instead punishment and destruction, Christ prays for peace and deliverance. In all of the history of humankind the most wicked of sins occurred at Calvary, but in the history of all Creation, the most gracious Savior of the world shows mercy.
“Father,” He prays, “forgive them for they don’t realize what they are actually doing.”
“O save them for Me, O save them for Me!
My Father, forgive them, and save them for me!”