Read: Luke 23:26-49
Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. (Luke 23:32-34, NIV)
Have you ever been punished for something you did not do? Did you receive the punishment voluntarily? I remember being punished for breaking a window playing baseball. I have to admit, I was one of the group playing the game that day. But, I neither threw nor hit the ball that ended up crashing through our kitchen window. I, simply put, was the “last man standing” when my mom came outside to see what had happened. I must confess, I tried to implicate others, telling her who hit the ball and how it sailed foul and hit the window with a crash. But, my defense fell on deaf ears and I was grounded for a week and had to work off the cost of replacing the glass in the window. You can tell how this has scarred me!
Jesus was surrounded on Calvary by those who deserved their punishment. The men, on either side of him, were career criminals. They had spent their lives breaking the law. By their own admission they deserved to die (if anyone does).
Jesus’ response to his unjust punishment was this, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” FORGIVENESS! That is what makes this day, this terrible crime, this dark day, GOOD FRIDAY! Today is GOOD, because it forever reminds us of God’s Amazing Grace! Like those criminals to Jesus’ right and left, we deserve death. But God, who loves us, sees his Son on the Cross. Jesus completes the work of our salvation and declares, “It is finished!”
Spend some time today remembering God’s grace! Thank God that Jesus died for the forgiveness of sinners. Look at the Cross and consider the gift!