Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.
LUKE 23: 34A
During this Lenten season, we will be looking at the seven sayings of Jesus from the cross. It is interesting to note that Matthew and Mark include only one saying: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Luke and John each contain three sayings and they are not in agreement with each other. The sayings are as follows:
“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
“Today you will be with me in Paradise.”
“Behold you son….Behold you mother.”
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
“It is finished.”
“Into your hands I commit my spirit.”
Since Jesus was on the cross for six hours, it is assumed that all the sayings were spoken. Each Gospel writer is including what is helpful to the overall message he is trying to get across to a specific community.
Last week, the sermon was focused on, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” While the scene at the crucifixion included many that needed forgiveness; the prayer Jesus offered was for us as well. Jesus’s prayer, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” transcends time and space. The “them” includes all of humanity. No matter what we have done or left undone, the gift of forgiveness, salvation, and/or welcome home we find here extended from Jesus is for all and at any time. We just have to accept this free gift.
As we journey through Lent, I hope you will examine your own life to see if there is anything you might need forgiveness for. Perhaps now is the time to offer it to Jesus; let it be buried with him this year, so you might be ready to rise freer at Easter. As disciples, we are called to model Jesus’ actions. We see Jesus forgive all. Is there someone you need to forgive? Can you use this Lenten season to release old wounds or let go of grudges you hold?
I look forward to exploring Jesus’ other sayings from the cross as we journey through Lent this year.
In Christ’s light and love,