And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. 34Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. -Luke 23:33-34
What a cry from the cross! Father, forgive them for they know not what they do! Who was Jesus speaking about?
- Judas, who betrayed the Son of Man with a kiss and wound up killing himself?
- The religious leaders who schemed with Judas and the crowd to crucify Him?
- The mob who a few days earlier shouted Hosanna! And now chanted Crucify Him?
- Pilate who in the effort to appease the Jews sentenced and innocent man to die, set a guilty man free, and made friends with a wicked man? He asked the poignant question “what is truth” while staring at The Truth and walked away without waiting on an answer?
- The Roman soldiers who placed a crown of thorns on His head and beat him without mercy and now were in a position to receive mercy?
- Herod who only wanted to see a miracle but received only silence.
- Barabbas who was set free but still in the bondage of sin?
- The thief who mocked Him?
- All these and more!
While Jesus offered grace and forgiveness to all there and the were unchanged, unmoved and in some cases relieved to see Him gone, but there was one who realized his spiritual condition and made a request:
And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. –Luke 23:42-43 The thief wanted to come back when Jesus reigns on earth (which He will during His millennial kingdom after the rapture, tribulation period and the battle of Armageddon.). What a statement of faith while Jesus hung there not apparently able to save Himself yet he believed and he got so much more so much sooner! That very day when he closed his eyes in death he opened them in paradise (the Lord’s mention of the place as “paradise” must have been a great comfort to the malefactor; to the oriental mind it expressed the sum total of blessedness[i]) with the Saviour!
Jesus died for all but not all will accept His atoning work. Some will reject Him. I’m not judging, just stating a fact otherwise the “mouth of hell” would not be growing (Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure –Isaiah 5:14). What will you do with this Jesus? Will you walk away unchanged or deiced on salvation? Christian, will you love and forgive the way Jesus did?
Just something to think about…and act on and watch the world change one soul at a time.
[i] W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine’s complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.