Judges 7-8

Luke 5:1-16


“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’” —Luke 23:34

Hanging on a cross, bearing the shame of nakedness and gasping for air, the words that Jesus uttered in the opening verse of this devotion are the greatest words ever spoken. But who were the “them” that Jesus was talking about in His final moments? Maybe it was Judas, one of Jesus’s closest followers who betrayed Him for 30 pieces of silver, demonstrating how little he valued Jesus’s life. But Judas was not the only one whose faith faltered that day; all the apostles abandoned Jesus. Even Peter, who adamantly said he would follow Jesus, denied Him three times.

When Jesus was sentenced to death by Pilate, the people of God were given one last opportunity to stop the madness and free this innocent man from condemnation. Maybe Jesus was referring to the terrorists, insurrectionists and the activists who brought chaos in the wake of their desire for change. Or maybe He was talking about the influencers, the insulters, the skeptics, the agnostics, the atheists, the haters and the mockers who used their platforms to turn people against Him. Or He was speaking about the religious leaders, who were warped in their hypocritical sense of worship and religion, or the Pharisees, who did not realize how deep their hypocrisy went, who studied God’s Word but could not put it into action and created their own sense of religious entitlement.

Maybe Jesus was talking about the soldiers, who were bred for war, or the violent and the savage, who no longer saw the humanity in others but only the next enemy they were to punish, or the gamblers, the drunkards and the addicted who squandered away every penny, or the two criminals crucified alongside Him, who were conscious of the choices they made and the consequences attached to those choices but made them anyways.

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Jesus said these words for the betrayers, the hypocrites, the haters, the insurrectionists, the murderers, the soldiers, the gamblers, the addicted, the criminals—for all of us, because we are all sinners. When we immerse ourselves in what was happening around the cross and look into our own life, it rekindles the meaning of God’s grace. Paul writes, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast”

(Ephesians 2:8-9). God has given us all a gift in Christ—salvation through the forgiveness of sins—but whether we choose to receive this gift is a choice each of us must make.

Lord Jesus Christ, by Your death on the cross, I am forgiven of my sins. It is truly a gift of grace that I do not deserve. Thank You for this gift. May I never treat it lightly in my life.

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