Day 42

“Father, Forgive Them”

from the Jesus, Keep Me Near The Cross reading plan

Isaiah 53:4-6, Luke 23:33-38

BY Kaitlin Wernet

Text: Isaiah 53:4-6, Luke 23:33-38

In college, every older student I talked to gave me the same advice: whatever you do, don’t take Media Law. After a series of unfortunate events we’ll call “Requirements For Graduation,” I found myself gazing through my non-prescription lenses at my professor, who passionately spoke of famous court cases, the difference between slander and libel, and the details of his recent inner-ear surgery.

It was also in this class that I learned if I had kept up my childhood behavior, I’d basically be a criminal by now. (I’m now realizing that’s probably not something I want taken out of context. Let’s just keep that between me and you, ok? Ok.)

You see, I was on the fast track to breaking every copyright law in the book, which, yes, Dr. Collins, I read cover to cover. Growing up, I rewrote my favorite books to include myself in them. It wasn’t enough to feel like I knew a character; I needed the character to know me. I adjusted all of my favorite plotlines to include a spunky, curly-haired little girl who, of course, always had something to do with the happily ever after.

Maybe you didn’t spend your childhood the same way, but I feel safe in saying that a good majority of us would jump at the opportunity to inject ourselves into our favorite stories.

In the simplest of terms, I came to faith the same way. I savored words of Truth for many years, but it wasn’t until I realized my name was already intertwined in The Gospel Story that I began to understand it. I’d figured I really was a sinner—by birth, inheritance, or association—but when I realized I’m an active sinner by trade, everything changed.

I assume not many joyfully proclaim, “I’M A SINNER!!!,” in the middle of a school cafeteria, but I did, and I still remember the giddiness I felt upon being a part of the story.

The funny thing about this realization, as we’ve revisited during this Lenten season, is that my sinful nature is the very thing that should kick me out of the plotline for good. Instead, Jesus shows up, asking us to lean in a little closer and see how He’s written our own hearts into the story.

Let’s settle in and take in the scene of today’s reading for a moment: two criminals have just been crucified, and Jesus is up next. It’s a climactic chain of events headed for the turning point, but then the focus shifts to the most unlikely of subjects— us.

“Father, forgive them.”

“Father, forgive [your name goes here].”

And here’s where the story twists unlike any I could have written for myself. Honestly, I’m tempted to take my forgiveness and run for the hills, because things are getting intense and I’m afraid the casting of my role is a mistake.

But friends, we weren’t written out of the story. We’re still front and center.

Like John MacArthur points out, “The forgiveness [Jesus] extended on the cross to those who put him to death is the same forgiveness he extends to sinners today.” His grace is specific for you and specific for me. Being the object of Christ’s love is the biggest role we’ll ever play—a role of a deep recognition and intimate knowledge, created by our Heavenly Father for us to fill. It isn’t until we view the story from our assigned places that we allow ourselves to see His forgiveness as a gift of personalized mercy.

Because of the sacrifice of the Son and the forgiveness of the Father, you and I have a place in this story—in The Story. May we continue to walk in the narrative of grace penned with us in mind.

Kaitlin Wernet is a Carolina girl who now plants her feet in Tennessee as the Community Coordinator for She Reads Truth. Each day, she excitedly celebrates grace with her SRT sisters while attempting to tame her curly hair and avoid parallel parking.




Post Comments (66)

66 thoughts on "“Father, Forgive Them”"

  1. Kasey Tuggle says:

    Jesus died for all believers! Which includes me. Personalizing the gospel for yourself makes it so much more real. He loved me so much and because of that I want to live to love like Him!

  2. Kelli says:

    I realize this is slightly off topic but as I read your Media Law class description including the inner ear troubles I thought, Ha ha – she must’ve had Dr. Collins! And then my jaw hit the floor in the next paragraph. Go Gamecocks! Sorry to be so random and totally off discussion!

  3. Mrs. Daniels says:

    Thank you Jesus for mercy when I deserved wrath. Your suffering for me is incomprehensible and I am grateful.

  4. I relate 100% to what you said about realizing one day you are a part of the story. It’s amazing how I lived my entire life in catholic school and church 3x a week hearing Scripture and it never hit home.. Like it was a bunch of pretty words, but they weren’t for me. Then one day the message of Jesus sank in and all of a sudden I realized this was God’s Word meant to guide every aspect of my life and it is ALIVE!!! I’ve never heard anyone put it in a way that I related to, thank you.

  5. Susannah says:

    I’m blown away that Jesus was just as human & after how he was treated he was still able to say “forgive them” I know I couldn’t have said that. So thankful.

  6. Antimony says:

    “Like John MacArthur points out, ‘The forgiveness [Jesus] extended on the cross to those who put him to death is the same forgiveness he extends to sinners today’. His grace is specific for you and specific for me”. He offers forgiveness. Guys, this has been such a horrible time for me. So much sadness. So many hurts. So many disappointments. It’s gotten to the point that my job feels like an escape. And I dread weekends. I just don’t want to deal with it anymore. In the meantime I’ve strayed from God I suppose. I feel like I’m just clinging desperately to the last ledge of hope. And scrabbling to hang on. And yet He offers forgiveness. And hope. To a convicted felon who was going to die … and couldn’t “do” anything for God. Yet God offered him forgiveness.

    1. Kaitlin says:

      God thinks you are worthy enough that He sent His son to die for you. Hold on to that promise and don’t let go…He will never let you go either. Hang in there!

    2. tina says:

      Antimony, can I just say before anything else. This right here… this sacrifice was for YOU…for me …for our sister's at SRT, for all…but right now in this season of hurt and pain and disappointment…for you, … more….Jesus loves loves loves you so much ….hang in there…He is walking through this with you…and. yeap, there's an and…., clinging onto the last ledge .of hope….means you are still holding on…Amen….praying God show himself to you in a way you will know his presence again…bless you my sister….God be with you…xxx

      Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word..
      Tell me the story most precious, sweetest that ever was heard…

  7. Emily says:

    After reading this wonderful devotional, I definitely feel myself being incorporated in the story! It’s so personal now that Jesus is forgiving ME! Wow what a wonderful feeling. I feel so special that Jesus would die for a terrible sinner like me.

  8. Lena says:

    This is so apt. Thank you for this reminder i'm reminded, as last week, the founder of my country passed on and thousands upon millions of citizens mourned his passing, if we could mourn the passing of a man as great as him, who gave us shelter, security and a voice in the world, a freedom that the world cannot seem to understand, what more Jesus, who not only gave us an identity, as a child of God, but also a life that is free, forgave our sins and made us whole again, would I mourn like I did for my founding father or even more as I place myself in this story, watching the scene unfold. I'm reminded of my eternal gratefulness for what Christ has done for me so that I may be free, that I am free!

    1. Emily says:

      I concur Lena!

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