Forgive Them... Good Friday's Amazing Grace
Forgive them... Good Friday’s amazing Grace!
Each year we celebrate the amazing gift that Christ gave us over this Easter weekend. Resurrection Sunday these days comes with all the trimmings. Easter eggs sharing gifts and plenty of family time and food. And so it should! After all without the resurrection of Jesus our Christian faith is a house of cards!
But before there was a resurrection there had to first be a death! And this was no ordinary death. History tells us that the punishment that Jesus took prior to being nailed to a rugged cross would almost certainly kill most men on its own. And then when we read the accounts in the Gospels of Jesus’ crucifixion we see something that probably angers me most about the scenes around the cross.
Just think about this for a moment... here’s a man that has already been beaten to within inches of his life. A crown of thorns forced into his head. Made to carry a cross to a hill to then be physically nailed to it and raised for all to see.
If that wasn’t enough the onlookers then began to mock Him and throw taunts at Him. I mean what sort of person pours salt into open wounds when someone has clearly suffered so much already? Those words aimed at Jesus that day were meant to wound Him even more than He already was. And we all know there is nothing more painful than words thrown at you that are meant for hurt’
If you have suffered or are suffering because of someone else’s words, you’ll be glad to know that there is an ointment to soothe that pain. Just take a look at these words and let this ointment settle in...
I Peter 2:23 NKJV
“who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;”
Think about this... despite all they threw at Him and then to rub salt into His gaping wounds hurled insults at Him, Jesus did not retaliate or bite back. Not one word came from His lips in retaliation... not one! What did He do? He simply left the judging to God The Father.
He asked for no apologies, He sort no retribution and no revenge. In fact He went completely the other way and came to His tormentors defence with these extraordinary words...
Luke 23:34 NKJV
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
And when you think about it, 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.
We don’t have to imagine too much to realise that what went on that Friday morning was bitter. The verbal barrage was designed to inflict even more pain on Jesus then He had already endured.
It still baffles me how Jesus racked with so much pain and barely struggling to breathe by this stage could still speak in defence of these heartless people. It truly is beyond my feeble understanding. Never ever will any of us ever see such love as this!
How could He do this? I don’t know really. All I know is that any hurts, pain or suffering I endure would never measure up... what amazing Grace!!! And all done so that you and I today can come to this Jesus with heartfelt thanks for the price He paid for us to be reunited with Him. I’ll leave you with this account from Marks gospel.
Mark 15:22-32 NKJV
“And they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull. Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it. And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take. Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him. And the inscription of His accusation was written above: THE KING OF THE JEWS. With Him they also crucified two robbers, one on His right and the other on His left. So the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And He was numbered with the transgressors.” And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” Likewise the chief priests also, mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Even those who were crucified with Him reviled Him.”
All this... and Jesus replies with “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
What love... What Grace!!