C Cycle – Good Friday 19
Jn. 18: 1-19: 42
Father forgive them, they know not what they do. Who was he forgiving for the horror of the arrest, trial, flogging, beatings and the brutality of crucifixion?
There were so many involved from the religious leaders, the Chief Priest, Pharisees and Scribes were eager to find some charge in order to put him to death; they were certainly guilty for starting the trial of Jesus. Pilate was a typical politician. He only desired not to upset the ruling Roman’s who controlled his destiny. He was guilty since he could have refused the demands of the Jews but he was more concerned about his own political future. The Roman centurion’s and soldiers were guilty of doing more than necessary after Jesus was found guilty. Let us not forget the crowd who just greeted him with shouts of Hosanna’s and now they were shouting crucify him.
Perhaps Jesus’s words have a broader meaning beyond forgiving just those involved with his passion and death. Perhaps those words were meant for all sins from Adam to today. We sin so easily by what we do, what we say, what we think and what we fail to do, say or think. Perhaps we should consider the broader implication of forgiveness and look beyond the visible sins of those associated with his arrest and crucifixion. We need to hear those words of forgiveness and we must be willing to acknowledge him as the Messiah.
As we sit here today, listening to the retelling of the prophesies, the reality of His passion and Paul’s reminding us exactly what his death did for us it is easy for us to not think beyond the events of that day. We must acknowledge all Jesus did that day was so we could look forward with absolute certainty our sins have been forgiven by Jesus’s death. He took upon himself the guilt of all our sins and restored our identity as something good in the sight of God. We have been redeemed, recreated in the image and likeness of God and forgiveness has been poured out on us. God’s love for us was revealed that day, Nothing will stop that loved from touching our hearts except our own disbelief it accomplished what we cannot do for ourselves – become sons and daughters of the Most High God.
What was the reaction of those who were there that day? Not one of them asked, begged, cried out for forgiveness and yet forgiveness was given them that day. We remember every sin we have ever committed and the guilt we feel still haunts us. We know we have confessed them, nor how many times we have been absolved of those sins, they still have a grip on us and condemn us. What does it take to understand forgiveness offered us means exactly that – we have been forgiven and the penalty due us for our sin has been paid that day on Calvary.
There is one reaction and only one action God wants us to voice, believe and live as a result of what Jesus did that day. We see that reaction in the centurion who stood at the foot of the cross and said, “truly this was the Son of God.” We are to acknowledge Jesus by embracing forgiveness and becoming living witnesses of God’s love and forgiveness.
Listen to Jesus as he reminds us If you don’t believe me then believe the words of Jesus when he said, “if you acknowledge me before others, I will acknowledge you before my Father in heaven” (Mt. 10:32).