Thursday, March 24, 2016
Intercessory Prayer, Christ, and Holy Week, Part V
Jesus is interceding by the act of the cross, but also by the words on the cross. Most notably he says of those who crucified him, the Romans, in Luke 23:24, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” In eternity I am going to ask about this verse. First, because my edition notes that it may be an addition later and not in the original text, although it parallels what Stephen says as the first martyr and is connected to psalms that prefigure the crucifixion. Second, because in some ways it flies in the face of reason—the Romans did know what they were doing, and were experts at the torture, but they did not know the full ramifications of what they were doing.
Third, because it probably highlight the tension between free will and sovereignty as much as any verse. They may not have known what they were doing, but they need forgiveness because it was still sin. They hated this Jew and had no qualms about making him suffer, so there was plenty of sin to go around. If they weren’t knowledgeable and responsible, why forgive? And yet none of us really knows the full extent of what our sin does, none of us really knows what we do.
This suffering was from and through God’s hand, as is all of ours, but the instruments of suffering are not free and blameless. Figuring that one out will take a while, but we will have time.
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