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Luke 23:33-38

33 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. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[a] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is


Crucifixion is one of the most painful and terrible ways to die.  Despite being crucified Jesus forgave people while they hurt Him. The phrase “Father forgive them, they know not what they do,” is written in such a way that it communicates Jesus kept repeating it with every blow of the hammer.  God was doing something amazing here: Jesus was freeing them from the sin they were actively committing.  Jesus was going to die on the cross so other people could be forgiven of what they did wrong.

But more profoundly, when we forgive, we learn to let go of the sin of others and to ‘not count it against them’.  Forgiveness is refusing to let the offense and hurt caused by others to define us.  Forgiveness frees US too! Who do you need to forgive for your own sake?  God is the most forgiving person, because he refuses to let our sin define his reality and relationship to us.  Can you offer forgiveness to others?  Is there someone you can provoke to forgive you so they can be free?   

When we do wrong, it separates us from God. But God doesn’t want that: He wants you close to Him.  In order to do that, God has to deal with sin.   Jesus let this happen to Him so you can be forgiven and be close to God.  Can you give Jesus your sin – what you do wrong – so you can be free too? Can you give Jesus the sin of others – the wrong done to you as well? 

Let’s Pray
as One.

God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Forgive me.  God have mercy on those who sin against me.  I forgive them.  And where I struggle to forgive, help me to want to forgive.  I want to be free from the sin of others.  I want your love for me to define me, not human sin. Amen.

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