Luke 23:34: Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Could anything be more shocking and yet more beautiful than this prayer? This is the single most shocking and single most beautiful sentence ever spoken in all of history. And it reveals the single most beautiful character and image of God in all of history.
God wants to relieve us of the burden that comes from falling short of what we were created to be. The Bible calls our short comings "sin". Jesus wants to set our feet back on the right track by removing the guilt we carry from being sinners.
If we let it, the beauty of this prayer, directed toward us (for our sin put Christ on the cross) has the power to heal and transform us completely.
The great twentieth century Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote, “Being disguised under the disfigurement of an ugly crucifixion and death, the Christ upon the cross is paradoxically the clearest revelation of who God is.”
The cross is the full and final revelation of God. God’s nature of forgiving love is supremely demonstrated at the cross. When Jesus could have summoned twelve legions of angels to exact vengeance, he instead prayed for his enemies to be forgiven. Vengeance had been canceled in favor of love. Retaliation was overruled in favor of reconciliation. Protest had been abandoned in favor of forgiveness.
The good news is that, no matter how serious the sin, God is always seeking us out and is willing to forgive and forget our sins and give us a fresh start. Forgiveness is fresh start. Amen.