Theme of the Week: Seven Sayings from the Cross
During the last couple of weeks, we have been talking about the COVID-19 crisis and how we should be responding as followers of Christ. This week we are shifting our attention to where our hope lies – in the cross and resurrection of Jesus – as we move towards Good Friday and Easter and talk about how this impacts our lives.
Saying 1: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:14-15
So often, we place great importance on someone’s last words. In the movies, we usually see the villain taunt the hero before attempting to strike him down with the phrase, “Any last words?” Despite their fight, each is still curious about what the other might say, knowing it could be their last moment on earth.
It’s a powerful thing – to boil down your life into one sentence.
When reading through the Gospels, it’s incredible to dig into Jesus’ last words. His ministry and mission have seemingly failed at this point. His followers have mostly deserted Him. And yet his critics and friends linger, wondering what His response will be to His impending death.
In total, Jesus hung on the cross for six hours. In that excruciating time, He made seven statements, each one a clue to His purpose on earth. This week, as we head towards Good Friday, we will look at Jesus’ last words and what we can learn from them.
Saying #1: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 24:34
Christ gave some hard teachings. One of the most challenging was to love your enemies, even to pray for those who persecute you.
When Jesus asked God to forgive his killers, it was an unbelievable example of what this teaching looks like in practice.
Pleading for forgiveness for the men who just drove a spike through His feet and forearms – can you even begin to imagine? Yet this is the bedrock of the upside-down kingdom. Not only that, but Jesus had compassion, knowing that the circumstances of life have put them in this position: “They know not what they do.”
How many times have others hurt you or made your life miserable? Have you considered those same people are not fully aware of what they’re doing? Or have you thought that the actions of cruel people may partly stem from abuse or addictions, and perhaps they are spurred on by reasons we can’t readily see?
Today, before you judge, remember to pray for those causing you pain or frustration, and know their own suffering and wounds may be blinding them.
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