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Father, Forgive Them: An Easter Homily | faith and religion

Background text: Romans 10:8d-10

Devotional Text: Luke 23:34

This week we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, the Christ. In doing so, we look at his words from the cross in Luke 23:34, as he cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing!” And they drew lots to share his clothes.

As Jesus spoke these words as he hung on the cross, we have to wonder who he was talking about. Was it for the Roman soldiers who nailed him to the cross? Was it for the religious leaders who had him arrested, or for those who had beaten and tortured him? Or do his words speak for all of us?

We know that Jesus made the sacrifice of dying on the cross for all of us, so that by believing in him we might have forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

During his three-year ministry, Jesus told his disciples about his impending death, but they either didn’t believe it would happen, or they just didn’t understand what he was telling them.

Then, at the Last Supper, the night he was arrested, Jesus lifted bread and gave thanks to God, referring to him as his body. Giving it to his disciples, he said, “This is my body given for you; do this in memory of me. (Luke 22:19).

When the meal was over, Jesus lifted the cup of wine, gave thanks to God and gave it to his disciples, saying: “Drink it, all of you. This is my covenant blood, which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from now on of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it again with you in my Father’s kingdom. (Matthew 26:27-29).

These words were spoken as a taste of what Jesus would soon endure: arrest, beatings and death on the cross as he took the place of the sacrificial lamb so that all our sins could be forgiven.

As Christians, we re-enact the Sacrament of Communion, instituted by Jesus, time and time again in our churches in remembrance of what Jesus endured for us on the cross.

Now, as we return to his words of forgiveness from the cross, we also consider the two criminals who hung on either side of Jesus, and the soldiers below playing for his clothes.

We think of the horrible pain he endured as he hung on the cross, his body battered and torn with a crown of thorns on his bleeding head, and the sign nailed above him to the cross (INRI) “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.” (John 19:19).

Through all this pain, humiliation and hatred, Jesus cried out, not with anger or hatred, but with words of salvation: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. (Luke 23:34).

What the Bible Says About Forgiveness

In today’s world, we find forgiveness between people, friends and loved ones, hard to come by. Often we find that all it takes is one mistake, one wrong word that comes out of someone’s mouth, and it feels like an unforgivable act. We are hurt by our friends and loved ones from time to time. It happens. It’s human nature. We can’t help it if we make a slip.

Very often in today’s society we see a mistake between friends and think, “That’s it, it’s over.” Where is our forgiveness for each other?

Here are two proverbs that speak specifically to forgiveness, and they tell us a lot about behavior towards each other.

Proverbs 10:12: “Hate stirs up dissension, but love covers all wrongs.”

Proverbs 17:9: “He who covers up an offense encourages love, but he who repeats the matter separates close friends.”

I offer these two scriptures for you to think about from the New Testament.

Matthew 18:21-22: “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother when he has sinned against me? Up to seven times?

Then Jesus answered, “I tell you not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

From Ephesians 4:32 we read these words. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another as in Christ God has forgiven you.”

Jesus said his blood would be shed for the forgiveness of our sins. So who was he talking to when he asked our Father God to “Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing?”

He demanded the religious leaders who hated him and had him arrested, the soldiers who beat him, those who nailed him to the cross and played under the cross for his clothes. And he was asking on behalf of all of us, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.

This, then, is salvation, as Paul wrote to Roman believers (Romans 10:8d-10): “It is the word of faith that we speak, that if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. For out of your heart you believe and are justified, and out of your mouth you confess and are saved. .

As we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on the third day, as predicted by Jesus himself; as we welcome Jesus into our hearts and minds; as we too become disciples by following his teachings; we remember the words of Jesus on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

Note: A number of readers tune in on Sundays to watch Reverend Brumbaugh’s live church service. A few weeks ago the church’s website failed and the problem was not fixed, so the church created a new Facebook page called Schenevus Methodist Church where readers can watch the service live.