Jesus Is Crucified
Open Your Bible
Luke 23:13-25, Mark 15:16-20, Luke 23:26-43
In this narrative of Jesus’s last hours, we encounter a slew of hard hearts. Sin has clouded with unjust vengeance the vision of those who once saw Jesus heal the blind and broken. Jesus, who was celebrated with a welcome fit for a victorious general, is now treated as a criminal—more guilty than Barabbas, a known murderer.
The officials treated Jesus as a joke, a troublemaker, a heretic—unable to see true power in humility. When everyone around Him was mocking Him, Jesus was a calm presence, offering mercy: “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
Instead of asking for justice and wrath—even as the officials tempted Jesus to ask for God’s help to bring him down from the cross—He goes so far as to ask God to forgive them. Amid pain and persecution, Jesus offers forgiveness.
I’ve experienced what it feels like to have people spread lies about my character and intentions. I have felt them judge me, say hurtful words about me, and wish ill things for me. It’s easy to want God to persecute them instead of offering them forgiveness. Yet the only truly innocent one showed us how we can be merciful when we experience persecution, rejection, and hurt—we pray.
Only through Jesus’s blood can we hold the pain our enemies bring us and God’s free gift of forgiveness simultaneously. With a knowledge of God’s saving grace through Jesus, we can pray for our enemies knowing it is not within our power to offer forgiveness, but God’s. Phew. It takes the pressure off. As we wrestle with our limitations to forgive, we can trust that God can carry us gently through the process of healing and reconciling. When we are the wrongdoer waiting anxiously for someone to accept our apology, we can come to Jesus knowing that he has already canceled out our debt and called us “free.”
Who is Jesus? Jesus is merciful. He has the capacity to have compassion in our pain and extend a hand, offering a second chance to those who “do not know what they are doing.”