Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. Luke 23:34
Charla was dying, and she knew it. While she was lying on her hospital room bed, her surgeon and a group of young interns poured into the room. For the next several minutes, the doctor ignored Charla as he described her terminal condition to the interns. Finally, he turned to her and asked, “And how are you?” Charla weakly smiled and warmly told the group about her hope and peace in Jesus.
Some two thousand years ago, Jesus’ battered, naked body hung in humiliation on a cross before a crowd of onlookers. Would He lash out at His tormentors? No. “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’ ” (Luke 23:34). Though falsely convicted and crucified, He prayed for His enemies. Later, He told another humiliated man, a criminal, that—because of the man’s faith—he would soon be with Him “in paradise” (v. 43). In His pain and shame, Jesus chose to share words of hope and life out of love for others.
As Charla concluded sharing Christ to her listeners, she posed the question back to the doctor. She tenderly looked into his tear-filled eyes and asked, “And how are you?” By Christ’s grace and power, she’d shared words of life—showing love and concern for him and others in the room. In whatever trying situation we face today or in the days ahead, let’s trust God to provide courage to lovingly speak words of life.
What difficult and humbling circumstances are you facing these days? How can you rest on Jesus during this challenging season?
Jesus, I praise You for Your example of grace and humility. Please help me reflect these qualities in my words.
In the first century, the common attire for a Jewish man included five pieces of clothing—footwear, turban, belt, loincloth, and outer tunic. After crucifying Jesus, the soldiers divided the Savior’s garments as their spoils for performing the task (Luke 23:34). After each took a portion of clothing, one remained—the tunic. This implies that even the loincloth was taken—and Jesus’ last shred of human dignity with it. In fulfillment of David’s messianic song, they stripped Jesus naked and then gambled for the tunic. In Psalm 22:17–18, where crucifixion was prophetically described some six hundred years before it was invented, David said it would be so.