When a group of guys laughs at you because you totally dropped the ball during the school softball game, you wish the teacher wasn’t around so you could punch them in the face. If your best friend starts hanging around all the girls on the cheerleading squad and ignores you, you kind of hope she gets hurt and can’t cheer anymore. Never do you pray, “Dear Father, please forgive them. They don’t know just how bad they are hurting me.”
That’s why Jesus’ prayer is astonishing. While he was nailed to a cross, spit on, and made fun of, he said, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing” (Luke 23:34). Obviously the people knew they were hurting Jesus. But he was asking God to forgive them because they had no idea they were crucifying the Savior. They couldn’t have known just how much it hurt God the Father to watch his innocent Son take the punishment for all sins—the soldiers’ sins, your friends’ sins, and your sins too.
One more amazing thing. Did you know that Jesus still prays for you—even now? Because Jesus rose from the dead and went back to heaven to rule with his Father, now “he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25 NIV). (Intercede is a big word that means Jesus gets involved and talks to God about you and your life.) When Jesus talks to God, he asks for God to do what’s best for you, to give you wisdom to handle the trouble you have with friends, for the strength to forgive others, and for the courage to let others know that Jesus has forgiven them too.
Chomp on this!
Is there someone in your life right now whom you have a hard time forgiving?
Pray to God to help you forgive that person.
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