Friday, March 29, 2013

Forgive Them

Luke 23:33  And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. 34  Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Ignorance! When they hung the Savior on the cross they did it out of obliviousness.

The Religious Crowd was blinded by its legalism. They couldn't see that they accused Him, arrested Him, lied about Him and prompted the people to plea for the release of Barabbas instead because their pride and control blinded them. They couldn't open up their eyes to the truth that this was the promised Messiah. This is the One Who fulfilled the prophecies. But they refused to see and were willingly ignorant.

The Government was ignorant. They were blinded by public opinion. Backroom deals were struck, political bedfellows were made, decrees were announced to make sure that, ultimately, Caesar would be pleased. They licked their fingers and lifted them to the air to see where the popular winds were blowing. They didn't know that this prophet from the sticks would be King of kings. His was a matter for the high priest to deal with. The Tetrarch and the Procurator were concerned with pragmatism, and thought this whole matter concerned superstition. So they were willing to wash their hands of the matter. One less Jewish troublemaker was no big deal to them and His crucifixion would serve them well in matters of crowd control and a healthy fear of the government. "Away with Him, let him be crucified!" was a decree made out of politically expedient ignorance.

The Soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross out of ignorance. Their job was to obey the powers that be, not to show mercy to some preacher. The crueler they were, the better they felt they were doing their jobs. They were war-toughened, hard-bitten soldiers doing what they were trained and ordered to do. But they were ignorant.

The People were ignorant. The mob ruled. They turned on a dime and danced on a denarii. On Sunday, many of them joined in with the choruses of Hosannas. But on Thursday, the crowds were yelling, "Crucify Him!" and they joined in on what everybody else was doing. Group-think ignorance.

It seems Jesus, hanging there on that cross, bleeding, beaten, mishandled, tired and thirsty, would be delirious. Instead, with full mental capacity, was able to put 2 and 2 together as He looked down upon the Pharisees, centurion, soldiers and the hostile mob. He gathered His breath by pulling against the nails, looked toward heaven and cast the words "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." to the Father.

Meanwhile, in continuing ignorance, they gambled for His garments.

And history continues to repeat itself. Politicians still say what they have to say to keep their poll numbers up. Calloused, gun-toting enforcers brutalize low-lifes. Know-it-all clerics struggle to maintain absolute control over the diminishing congregations. And the crowds holler for their "free" cell phones and entitlements, the Constitution be darned.

The Jesus still pleads for forgiveness for their ignorance. Meanwhile, they buy their Lotto tickets, watch their programs, sleep in on Sunday mornings, drink their beer, lust in their hearts, spew their blasphemies and know not that they have crucified the Lord’s Christ. 

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