Lent Devotions: Day 42
Love and Forgiveness
Read: Luke 23:32-37
Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing. (v. 34)
Like all children, I knocked my head, tripped and fell, and crashed my bike more than a few times. I remember the pain of those times. But real physical torture is not something that I can honestly relate to. It is difficult to entirely understand the suffering and physical anguish Jesus endured in the last 24 hours of his life on earth. He was beaten, spat on, flogged and crucified.
Yet even in this torturous punishment Jesus cried out to God, not in anger or resentment, but on behalf of his persecutors. “Forgive them,” he asked, “for they do not know what they are doing.” Jesus had at his disposal the power of God and legions of angels to swoop to his aid (Matthew 26:53). However, instead of taking revenge on his killers, Jesus prayed for them.
The previous night Jesus had spoken to his disciples of this kind of love, saying, “Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (John 13:34). On the cross he demonstrated the full extent of his love.
Jesus prayed for the forgiveness of those who tortured him. How difficult is it for us to forgive those who have wronged us? May we follow his example more completely. –Jonathon VanderWall
Prayer: Lord, help us to love one another as you have loved us.