Jesus watched the people responsible for his death from the cross and prayed: Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing
This is another in a series for Before the ending of the day where I am considering each of the last words of Jesus as he died on the cross. I wonder what meaning they may have for our own contemplation of death and dying.
Forgiveness is not easy path to follow. How can it be explored?
Four questions about you and forgiveness:
When have you been forgiven and what did it feel like?
When have you been called upon to forgive and found it impossible?
What is unforgiveable?
Why did Jesus pray in this way?
Three statements about forgiveness from Jesus in Luke’s gospel:
“Friend your sins are forgiven” to a paralysed man who was then healed.
“Forgive and you will be forgiven” to his listeners.
“Forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us” from the Disciples’ Prayer.
What do they reveal about his relationship with his Father in heaven?
Two comments about forgiveness:
‘Our forgiveness emerges from the greater forgiveness of God which is not limited by space or time and seeks new paths into our lives and society; whether we are forgiving or no’.
‘Forgiveness heals from within and clears what has become obscured by anger and fear’.
He was travelling home. An old acquaintance who was dying had asked to see him. He knew what the conversation would be about. They had grown up together and been close friends. But it had turned sour. They had fallen out over a business deal. He had moved away and although he had intended to go back he had never found the right moment.
He arrived too late. Death had been beaten him to it. What might have been spoken never would be said.
Late in the night he prayed;
Lord I lost more than an old friend;
I have lost an opportunity to do something
which would have changed us both.
What can I do now?
A declaration of forgiveness:
The almighty and merciful Lord
grant you pardon and forgiveness of sin,
time for the amendment of life
and the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit.