Posted by: sean | May 1, 2007

Luke 23.32-37

32 Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him. 33 When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. 34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. 35 And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!”

Here is proof that the Sermon on the Mount is not some lofty set of ideals to be marveled at but not literally followed. Jesus is being assaulted from all angles, he is being ridiculed, tortured physically, and is about to die naked on a rough piece of wood for no wrong doing of his own. This MAN did not have vengeance in his heart (though he is coming back to avenge). He looked out at the crowd, the Roman soldiers, the sneering Jews, and the others and prayed for God to forgive them. He really meant this. How bizarre to say that this perfect example should not be emulated by those of us who bear the name Christian? Our leader loves self-sacrificially to the point of death and does not wish ill of his enemies. Until one grasps what happened that day on the cross when one man loved when he should for every reason hate, nonresistance will remain a doctrine of mist—seen from a distance never knowing the substance thereof.

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Responses

  1. This is clearly the standard. For love (I John 3:16) and forgiveness (Ephesians 4:32). Jesus here is focused on something beyond what his circumstances are dictating. In a way, this makes me think that without the promise of the coming Kingdom, none of these things make sense:

    Why not take vengence, afterall they deserve it?! – we don’t because it’s coming by God’s hand in the Kingdom.

    Why forgive those who do evil to us? They should be punished! Well, they will be harshly in the Kingdom – and if we really love our enemies we would pray for their forgiveness because the evil they are doing will lead them to hell.

    Jesus was able to act outside of the circumstances because he knew what was coming (Hebrews 12:1-2)


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