“And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” – Luke 23:34
In these words we see the immeasurable kindness of Jesus Christ towards sinners. He appeals to God for the forgiveness of His killers, pleading their sinful ignorance. These words are full of pity, rich with compassion, and reveal the Savior’s great heart of love. These words serve as a great comfort to the Christian and a plea of love to the non-Christian. Let’s meditate on them for a moment.
For they know not what they do. In one sense, those who crucified Jesus did know what they were doing. They willfully nailed Jesus to the cross with full knowledge that He claimed to be the Son of God and the King of the Jews. They chose to reject Christ, they spit in His face, they leveled false accusations against Him, and they nailed Him to a rough, splintered piece of wood. We too are counted part of this group. Our sins put Jesus on the cross and we bear as much guilt in His death as the men who actually drove the nails into His hands. We carry Christ’s very nails in our pockets.
Yet Christ pleads the ignorance of those who crucified Him! They didn’t truly realize what they were doing. They didn’t understand that they were nailing the world-maker to a cross. They didn’t realize that they were piercing the very hands that formed them in the womb. They were fully blinded by sin, and were unable to see the Prince of Glory. Christ, the infinitely merciful One, is aware of their blindness, and asks that the Father would forgive them.
Christ has been incredibly merciful to us as well. We too were blinded by sin. We were blind to the beauty of Christ, and couldn’t comprehend His true identity. When we sinned against Him, He didn’t crush us as we deserved, for He knew that we were ignorant. Instead, He poured out mercy upon us.
Hasn’t Jesus been kind to you? He has been so good to me. I was a desperately wicked, ignorant sinner who deserved the fiery torments of hell. Yet Christ saw my ignorance and felt pity in His great heart.
Jesus, let our love for you be deep! Stir the deep desires of our heart with strong love for you. No one has been kinder, no one has shown us more mercy. Teach us to live for you alone.