Jesus said, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. Luke 23:34
This is an amazing request. It was heard by the soldiers and those standing around the cross, just after the nails entered his hands and feet.
In this moment, we see the love of God toward sinners. Looking closely, we see “they” are ignorant and offer nothing towards their own pardon. Because His beloved Son was dying for “them”, we know the Father answered his prayer.
God’s grace and His granting of forgiveness and pardon came first. Sorrow and repentance followed. The dying thief joined them all in mocking Jesus. Then afterword, his eyes being opened, he saw his sin and asked to be remembered. “Today you will be with me in paradise” was the answer.
Fellow pilgrim, we too were ignorant and without excuse. Thankfully, we were not left alone in our sins and the judgement that would surely have followed.
Jesus prayed for us in that hour as he suffered for us. In due time, he sent messengers with his word to open our eyes and turn us from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. That we may receive the forgiveness of our sins. (Acts 26:18)
In Him we have redemption (vindication) through his blood, the forgiveness of our sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. (Ephesians 1:7)
Amazing grace! I was lost but I was found! I was blind and now I see!
The forgiveness of God reaches the deepest part of our souls. We know we did not deserve to be pardoned, for it was our sins that required Jesus to be nailed to the cross. We cry knowing it was His love for us that prevented him from coming down until he paid the full price.
“Heavenly Father, thank you for answering Your Son’s request that my sins would be forgiven. I pray that I may have power to grasp and understand, with all the saints, how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”