Pilate summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him. “No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him. “Therefore I will punish Him and release Him.”
Now he was obliged to release to them at the feast one prisoner. But they cried out all together, saying, “Away with this man, and release for us Barabbas!” Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again, but they kept on calling out, saying, “Crucify, crucify Him!”
And he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death; therefore I will punish Him and release Him.”
But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And their voices began to prevail. And Pilate pronounced sentence that their demand be granted. And he released the man they were asking for who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, but he delivered Jesus to their will. Luke 23:1-49
Father ... Forgive them.
The dialogue that Friday morning was bitter.
From the onlookers, “Come down from the cross if you are the Son of God!”
From the religious leaders, “He saved others but he can’t save himself.”
From the soldiers, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
Bitter words. Acidic with sarcasm. Hateful. Irreverent. Wasn’t it enough that he was being crucified? Wasn’t it enough that he was being shamed as a criminal? Were the nails insufficient? Was the crown of thorns too soft? Had the flogging been too short?
For some, apparently so...
Of all the scenes around the cross, this one angers me the most. What kind of people, I ask myself, would mock a dying man? Who would be so base as to pour the salt of scorn upon open wounds? How low and perverted to sneer at one who is laced with pain ...
The words thrown that day were meant to wound. And there is nothing more painful than words meant to hurt ...
If you have suffered or are suffering because of someone else’s words, you’ll be glad to know that there is a balm for this laceration. Meditate on these words: "When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 25For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:23-25
“When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”
Did you see what Jesus did not do? He did not retaliate. He did not bite back. He did not say, “I’ll get you!” “Come on up here and say that to my face!” “Just wait until after the resurrection, buddy!” No, these statements were not found on Christ’s lips.
Did you see what Jesus did do? He “entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” Or said more simply, he left the judging to God. He did not take on the task of seeking revenge. He demanded no apology. He hired no bounty hunters and sent out no posse. He, to the astounding contrary, spoke on their defense. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”? Luke 23:34
“they don’t know what they are doing.”
And when you think about it, they didn’t. They hadn’t the faintest idea what they were doing. They were a stir-crazy mob, mad at something they couldn’t see so they took it out on, of all people, God. But they didn’t know what they were doing.
Yes, the dialogue that Friday morning was bitter. The verbal stones were meant to sting. How Jesus, with a body wracked with pain, eyes blinded by his own blood, and lungs yearning for air, could speak on behalf of some heartless thugs is beyond my comprehension. Never, never have I seen such love. If ever a person deserved a shot at revenge, Jesus did. But he didn’t take it. Instead he died for them. How could he do it? I don’t know. But I do know that all of a sudden my wounds seem very painless. My grudges and hard feelings are suddenly childish.
Sometimes I wonder if we don’t see Christ’s love as much in the people he tolerated as in the pain he endured.
Amazing Grace ... Father Forgive Them by Max Lucado
Now is a good time to meditate on what Jesus did for you; and to consider what you need to do for Him. When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus. And following Him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him. But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. “For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ “Then they will begin TO SAY TO THE MOUNTAINS, ‘FALL ON US,’ AND TO THE HILLS, ‘COVER US.’ “For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him. When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. 35And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!” 38Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:1-49
My Thoughts ...
As I meditate on the final days of our Lord’s life; walking here amongst us, in the form of a man. The word that keeps coming to me is sacrifice. Every day of His walk here on earth was an enormous sacrifice. And He never once wavered. His purpose was always the same: loving others sacrificially. His last supper with the disciples, Jesus got down, and humbly washed their feet. He then went on to teach them all that they still needed to know, before He offered Himself up, to be crucified. He never wavered from the truth, even when they tortured Him mercilessly. Then He prayed first for us, and then for strength from the father in Heaven. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus being one with the Father still prayed to Him; He sweats drops of blood; He had all of the power in the universe; but He willingly humbled Himself to the point of the most humiliating, horrific, and painful death possible.
It is interesting that a huge crowd of the Jews brought Jesus to Pilate. And that they made false accusations about Him. Jesus' only sin was that told the truth, which they viewed as blasphemy. Pilate pleaded with the Jews three times, that he found no guilt in Jesus. But the religious leaders had stirred up the crowd and demanded Jesus be crucified. None of them had any idea of what they were about to do. The guards mocked him; crowned Him with a crown of thorns; then they gave Jesus the most merciless beating imaginable; they released a murderer in His place … now that is hate. His followers mourned for Him. None of them understood that this was the fulfillment of God’s plan from the beginning of time. They nailed his hands and feet; they crucified Jesus in place of you and me. They continued to mock Him. They bartered for His clothing; they gave Him sour wine to drink; and even on the cross answered the pleas of the man next to Him, forgave his sins and comforted Him and shared His future in Paradise; God turned the sky black; Jesus died for us. Think about it, meditate on what He did for you, and determine to make the changes in your life that will allow Him to fully transform your remaining life on earth so that He can draw those who are still lost to Him through you.
This is my mission …
For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. … Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:14-21
One final thought: All of this was planned from the beginning. There was not one thing that happened that Jesus did not know ahead of time. He knows your name. He knew you in your mothers womb. He already knows all of the tomorrows of your life. He knows your every thought ... He has a plan for you. Are you living that plan? What is your mission ... He wrote it down for you ... and he hears you when you call.
What is your Mission?
Abide Above. His victory over death is our victory. We can rest in His peace, joy, love, and forgiveness. We have nothing to fear in this world. "But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" 1 Peter 2:9
often contradict the wisdom of the world. Since we have been programmed by the world ... we have come to accept these worldly ideas as truth ... but when we consider God’s perspective ... we come to understand ... "the Lord's ways are not our ways"
Don't just read these writings ... meditate and pray over God's Word ... Listen to the Holy Spirit ... and be transformed by renewing your mind. He who died on our behalf wants you to ... allow the love of Christ to control you ... so that you might become ... the righteousness of God in Him.
Be an Ambassador of Christ ... with a ministry of reconciliation. Share God's eternal Truth and Love ... with everyone He brings into your path.