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For today’s thought, let’s read some of the story of the crucifixion fro Luke & Matthew’s Gospels.

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Luke 23:33-34

Jesus prays for the people who crucified him, including those Jewish leaders who conspired to get rid of him because he was a disrupter of their political arrangements with Rome. 

Jesus forgives the Romans who tortured him and ridiculed him:

Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him.  They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.

Matt 27: 27-30

Jesus prayed and asked God to forgive the Roman soldiers who beat him, painfully pounding a crown of thorns onto his head. 

Have you ever gotten a cut on your head? It bleeds more than most places. That’s because the skin on your scalp carries more blood than that on the rest of your body. So blood flowed down over his face. 

There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.

Luke 23:38

Jesus forgives the criminal on the cross who hurled insults:

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 

Luke 23:39

And Jesus forgives the criminal who saw Jesus’ for who he is, the Messiah, to be crowned king of the universe.

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Luke 23:40-42

The way Jesus pronounces forgiveness of the thief on the cross, the man who knew he did not deserve forgiveness for his sins, the one who knew he deserved the punishment he was receiving, the way Jesus pronounces forgiveness is with immediate acceptance and and immediate joy, which comes through intimate friendship, being WITH him. 

 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Luke 23:43

The path to that kind of forgiveness is to admit, like the thief, that you have sinned. It’s not an antiquated term; it’s the word we use for those acts that “miss the mark”, fail to achieve righteousness, falling short of God’s glory. 

Reflection:

Do you know that you have sinned? Have you received forgiveness? No matter what you have done, there is forgiveness through faith in the finished work of the cross of Christ.

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