“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34).” The circumstances that surrounded that plea make it virtually incomprehensible. Darkness would soon descend. Actually, it had already enveloped the hearts of men. Satanic hatred controlled them from within. Their hands simply carried out their deeply distorted desires. The devil had them, or did he?
Blood mixed with spit stained His holy face. The ridicule of the adversaries echoed in His ears. Even the crooks hanging next to Him mocked Him. The pain of nails tearing at His flesh grew to unbearable proportions. Every breath was a labor. Suffocation threatened. Life drained from His wounds. He gasped for air. His back was raw from the brutal beating He had taken. Human sins were heaped onto His divine shoulders. The spiritual burden was immense. The physical suffering was indescribable. “Father, forgive them…”
It was His mission, start to finish. As He approached its completion, he uttered words that would reveal the point with amazing clarity. It was all about forgiveness. Sin wrecked the human relationship with God from the very beginning which immediately took its toll on humanity. The descent was breathtaking, from paradise to murder in one generation. He came to deal with the root cause of that problem. “Father, forgive them…”
Peter stood among the perpetrators. He had traveled and talked with the Lord. He had seen miracles that defied explanation. He saw storms calmed, the lame healed, the sick cured and the dead raised. He himself had walked on water, if only for a step or two. He also saw Jesus crucified. He confronted the instigators with their sin. They had killed the savior. Surely, this was an unforgivable sin, right?
“What shall we do (Acts 2:37)?” If ever there seemed like a dilemma with no solution, this was it. The message hit them right in the heart, but how could they fix it? It may have appeared hopeless, but there is always hope with the Lord. Peter’s response? “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…Acts 2:38)”
Forgiveness? Even for murdering the Son of God? Yep, God promised it (Acts 2:39).
The cross reveals the horror of sin. It took the most dramatic demonstration of the love of God in history to show the lengths to which He would go to solve the estrangement that sin causes. It severs our ties to our Creator. He is love. No God, no love. He is light. Separation means eternal darkness. Without Him there is no life. We get the point. Sin separates us from Him and all that is good (James 1:17).
“Father, forgive them…” It epitomizes the Lord’s intentions. It captures the mission of Jesus. He endured the torturous death of crucifixion so that we might be forgiven. It is His heart’s desire for all of us.