Final words are important. The last words that people speak are normally not trivial. We usually do not hear meaningless words when a person is breathing their last.
Even more so if the person dying is doing so under stress. Often if an individual is in great pain they are anesthetized and often die without speaking.
But when Jesus died after enduring twelve hours of torment, torture, deprivation and harassment He died with His mind clear, refusing the offer of a pain numbing mixture of vinegar and sour wine. We believe He did so that He might absorb into His sinless flesh every drop of the Father’s wrath.
And when Jesus was crucified; hands and nails pierced by spikes, His head bleeding from the wounds of a crown of thorns, His cross now lifted up and dropped into place with a sickening and jarring thud, He spoke His first word:
“Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”
I wonder if it might help us here, in making our journey toward Easter more meaningful, to re-frame the person who injured us… slandered us… grieved us… as a person who may not have known what they were doing.
Now not all. Some are well aware of what they did. But there are those who didn’t… and still don’t. And yet we hold them just as accountable as the ones who did.
Someone has said, “To know all is to forgive all.” And let’s turn this around. Sometimes WE don’t know what we’ve done either. And we need forgiveness just like those who do know.
End of my point: Jesus forgave everyone: the ones who conspired and trumped up false charges, those who agreed to bear false witness, the soldier who followed orders to crucify a man, to the commander who oversaw it, the clerk who wrote Jesus’ title to be nailed over Him, to Pilate who dictated the words.
All were offered forgiveness in the crucified King at the cross.
And so may you find it too.
“And they crucified Him.” Mark 15:24
FOR REFLECTION: Knowing what Jesus did for you at the cross, who is there that you need to forgive?