“Father, Forgive Them”
Open Your Bible
Isaiah 53:4-6, Luke 23:33-38
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.