by Buzz Dahlen
A few weeks have passed since Easter. For most, the tendency is to look forward to the next holiday and let the passion of Easter fade away. This year, the focus of Easter seemed to be on the resurrection, and understandably so. But there is a part that we seem to over look, and for obvious reasons, we don’t want to face the facts.
When Jesus hung on the cross, some of His last words were, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Most think He was just referring to being nailed to the cross, but too often, we forget all that He went through for us.
First, He was betrayed by one of His closest friends. He was arrested in the garden, chained and hauled away to face the local religious counsel. That’s when all of His closest companions abandoned Him. At the counsel, He had to endure, person after person coming forward to bear false testimony, concerning who He was and what He has said and done. That wasn’t enough, because those who held Him captive spit on Him and hit Him. They mocked Him and said all sorts of terrible things to Him and about Him. It was during this time that His closest friend denied that he even knew Him. Not once, not twice but three times he denied Him…
Then off He was taken to face the judgment of the local governor, Pilate. Pilate questioned Him and found no reason to crucify Him so he sent Jesus to the local authority, Herod. Herod just ridiculed and mocked Jesus and sent Him back to Pilate. Pilate knew that Jesus was not guilty of any charges, but he was weak and did not want to the people to turn against him, so he had Jesus beaten… And that was easy beating, not a token beating. He was beaten until the flesh was ripped away from his bones. From head to toe, he was beaten so badly that he was unrecognizable.
But that was not enough. Then he was led out to stand before the crowd to be released, only to have them shout, “CRUCIFY HIM, CRUCIFY HIM!” In an attempt to give the people a chance to change their mind, Pilate offered to release a prisoner. The people cried out to have Barabbas, a thief and a murderer, released. “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Christ?” And again, they shouted, “CRUCIFY HIM!”
So Pilate had Jesus flogged and the soldiers gathered around Him, stripped Him, and put a crown of thrones on His head. “Put,” sounds so nice. It was terrible. Large sharp thorns pressed into His scalp and then hit over and over again. Then He was brought out before the people once again in hopes that they might be satisfied, but no, they shouted all the louder, “CRUCIFY HIM!”
At that, He was forced to carry His own cross to the hill, where they nailed His hands and feet to the cross. And after all that He could still say, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
He was also referring to all of us, even though we were not there, He knew our sins, He knew the choices we would make, He knew everything that we would do and say and yet He still asked that we would be forgiven.
Why not accept that forgiveness, today? Why not accept god’s gift of grace and give your life to Christ, right now?