Forgive | Devotion #6: Possibilities
John Hubbard | Worship Leader
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
In a sermon preached in 1869, Charles Spurgeon spoke on this verse. This verse is incomprehensible in my mind. Jesus is experiencing brutal pain and suffering and is still thinking of those harming Him. In his sermon, “The First Cry from the Cross,” Spurgeon makes several points that hit me hard. First, even in His darkest hour, Jesus never stopped praying. When teaching the disciples to pray, Jesus referred to God as “Our Father.” That did not change when He was experiencing extreme hardship. He knew that even when He was facing the worst circumstances, God Almighty was still a loving Father and He addressed Him as so.
Next, when crying out in prayer, Jesus did not pray for Himself. He prayed for others. Not only did He pray for others, but He prayed for those who were brutally murdering Him. It is the most unselfish prayer. He did not pray, “Father, please take me off this cross! Father, take me out of these circumstances!” He prayed and begged God the Father to forgive these people. Jesus loved people. Jesus died for people. Jesus died for all people. He was “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 KJV), including those who were crucifying Him.
The Bible tells us to do hard things. One of those hard things the Bible tells us to do is to love our enemies. Jesus said, “But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44 KJV). Another hard thing the Bible tells us to do is to continue praying despite our circumstances, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ, Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). I am grateful for our Savior who gave us beautiful examples of how to do some of the hard things the Bible tells us to do. We are only human, loving those who are hurting us and keeping an eternal perspective during hard times can feel impossible. Matthew 19:26 says, “But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” Next time we find ourselves in difficult circumstances dealing with difficult people, we should pray to our Father (who we know is a good, loving Father), pray for and love our enemies, and ask God to help us with these things that can feel impossible.