February 24, 2023 Devotional
And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
The context of the circumstances here are grim. The picture of Jesus, His body ripped and torn from the beatings and scourging. The crimson blood streaming down from the crown of thorns mixing with the tears streaming down our Saviors face. The executioners drive the stakes through His hands and feet, sending unimaginable shockwaves of pain as they rent through nerves and flesh. It is in this very moment that, quite possibly, we see the best example for prayer ever displayed within the confines of time and space. Jesus musters the strength to cry out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. Even as the first drops of blood from His wounds hit the ground and cried out to God, Christ was also crying out. Do we see the heart of our Savior here? He is literally in the beginning of His death throes and thinks not of Himself but of others. He is being crushed under the weight of a Holy God for the world’s sin even though He Himself knew no sin, yet His concern is for others (Is. 53:10, 2 Cor. 5:21). If we know Christ this day, this is the reason. It is because Christ lives to intercede for us (Heb. 7:25). To intercede simply means to plead one’s case. Picture a courtroom scene with Christ as our attorney pleading our case for us. Now imagine, as He pleads, we are spitting on Him, mocking Him and His gospel, or worse, driving spikes into His hands and feet. All the while, He pleads, Father, forgive them. Do we see the lack of concern for self and the overwhelming concern for others. May the Holy Spirit work within us a heart with even a fraction of the sacrificial qualities of Christ’s. May our hearts truly go out to the lost and hurting around us. May we have Christlike hearts that lead us to the needy, the sick, the fatherless, the widows, the outcasts, the enemies of the faith, the very ones that are so far off from Christ that they themselves think His grace could never be sufficient. Oh, my dear brothers and sisters, let us go out with the message of hope and redemption, because our Savior has come in unto us, bearing wounds of grace and forgiveness.