Scripture records some of Jesus’ last words on the cross and I have heard them my whole life having grown up in church. That was so sweet and kind of Jesus to forgive the nasty, vile men and women who caused him to be crucified right?
But I woke up this Easter Sunday with a powerful, different thought.
What if we’ve gotten these famous words all wrong or maybe incomplete?
This 2020 epic season of quarantine is forcing us to look at a lot of things we’ve held on to through a new lens, so open your mind a bit.
Jesus himself prayed in the garden before this all went down: “Father take this cup from me, but not my will but yours be done.” And while he prayed he was under so much tension and stress that he sweat drops of blood.
This was not about to be a gentle, kind act of compassion; it was to be an earth shattering, creation altering moment in all the universe that would steal the power of eternal death and separation out of Satan’s control.
Jesus went on to be betrayed by his closest friends, beaten with metal shards, a crown of thorns shoved onto his head, nailed to a wooden cross – this was a terrifyingly intense, emotional moment in time.
What if Jesus spoke these words: ”Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” to stay the hand of God the Father from obliterating his entire creation as they were about to kill his own son so hideously?
God in Old Testament times had wiped out whole cities, even killed hundreds of thousands of the children of Israel for their rejection of him and turning to other god’s. Jesus hanging on the cross caused God to impossibly endure the very antithesis of his created intention; yet he knew it was going to happen at the moment of creation when he breathed his own breath into Adam and Eve.
In order to receive freely given love from his created people, God had to offer the option of rejection.
But when Jesus was about to die on that cross; every ounce of God’s spiritual justice, love and holiness was tested. It had to be restrained for the resurrection to occur. But what a fist-clenching, terrifying moment in heaven that must have been. He could have squashed all mankind like bugs. This was going to break the law of justice.
Instead we got: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do."
Heavenly Father, we just can’t seem to see your eternal design with any clarity; but we know in that moment of restraint – you gave up your son in order to give us eternal hope. And then, Jesus died. The explosive effects instantly transformed the earth into darkness, tearing the heavy, embroidered temple tapestries and setting the course for Jesus to complete his victory over death in order to offer us life.
So now you can tear down the things that separate you from God; turn your back on them completely. Repent and be baptized and step into a new life of hope in Jesus’ name.
Instead of getting what we justly deserve, we are now offered life, hope, purpose and love. Not only those who nailed him to the cross; but You and I are also why Jesus begged the Father to hold on for a moment longer until the sacrifice and resurrection were completed. God’s love went that far and cost him that much.
You can have that kind of power and love in your life! Just ask Jesus.
Baptism is being dunked under water. It is an individual reenacting of Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection and agreeing to take on God’s mission in order to receive his promises. This is a covenant ceremony between every believer that makes Jesus our Lord and Savior. Your past can no longer be held against you, You are adopted into the family of God to carry on his purpose. And you are guaranteed an eternity with him in heaven free from the consequences of the broken relationship with God our Heavenly Father that sin caused.
© Copyright 2020 Rebecca Walker All Rights Reserved.