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Easter Week Reflection | Day One


"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." – Luke 23:34

By Isaac Lipe

How can Jesus love me with all my sin? This question comes up frequently in my personal walk with the Lord, and I am sure it comes up in the lives of many others. Although we have the eternal hope of the resurrection of Christ, we so easily lose sight of hope in moments and only fixate on our sin. The saying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” offers an assurance of hope.

Beginning with the end of the saying, we see Jesus say, “... for they know not what they do.” Prior to this verse, Jesus, an innocent man, has been tried and found guilty. At this point, he has just been placed on the cross between two criminals. He is suffering the death of a guilty sinner, despite having lived a perfect life. Within the context, we could look at this as Jesus saying none of these people knew they were crucifying an innocent man. However, this was not an act of ignorance. The people present knowingly placed him upon the cross. So if this text isn’t revealing the ignorance of the men who put Jesus on the cross, what does it reveal? 

This points to the greater reality of God’s wrath waiting to be poured out upon these people. They knew they were crucifying an innocent man, but they did not know this brought the judgment of the Lord upon them. In the same way, we fail to recognize how our sin affects God. It might seem insignificant in comparison, but our sins make us just as worthy of the wrath of God as the soldiers who crucified Jesus. However, this is where hope comes in.

This saying of Jesus begins with, “Father, forgive them…” Even as Jesus suffered a brutal death upon the cross, he remembered the purpose of his death. Romans 4:25 shows us his purpose “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” We see this truth shining in the words of Jesus here. In the midst of the greatest suffering in history, Jesus cried out to the Father to offer forgiveness to his crucifiers causing his suffering. Since Jesus died for my sin and your sin, we are the crucifiers of Christ. While we were once destined for wrath, now we are recipients of forgiveness and grace. Because of the perfect, innocent sacrifice of Christ, our sins have been paid for, and we have been justified in the eyes of our God. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father for all eternity until we are reunited with him, so our hope of forgiveness is present for all eternity. Jesus saw us and all of our sinfulness then, so his death upon the cross is sufficient now to wash us clean of our sins. How can Jesus love us with all our sin? By paying for our sins with his blood. We trust in the power of the cross and the work of Christ to offer true, lasting, and abundant forgiveness.