“Father, forgive them.”
“We heard you boast that you could destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days! Why don’t you save yourself now? If you’re really God’s Son, come down from the cross!” Even the ruling priests, with the Jewish scholars and religious leaders, joined in the mockery and kept on saying, “He saved others, but he can’t even save himself! Israel’s king, is he? He should pull out the nails and come down from the cross right now; then we’ll believe in him! He says he puts all his trust in God, so let’s see if it’s true, and see if God really wants to rescue his ‘favorite son’!” (Matt 27:40-43 TPT.)
Secretly, or not, that’s the kind of God we all want: Warrior King, Almighty Conqueror, Powerful and Victorious. The kind of God that could take himself down off the cross and defeat his foes is the kind of God that could defeat ours, too. Right?
The kind of God we could pray to and declare upon and believe in? “The prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective” because if we're good enough and loud enough we can change God’s mind, and he’ll do what we ask? While we sit and wait for him “to show himself strong on our behalf?”
“Sometimes miracles look like medication and patience and discipline. Sometimes it's the daily unsexy work of loving people and choosing justice, even if no one ever notices.”
Powerful, two minute reads that have helped change the script in thousands of people's lives.
“Father, forgive them.”
He wasn’t talking about cosmic forgiveness as in the sins of the world or whatever. He wasn’t begging God to forgive them because what God really wanted was to smite them. No. That’s not what happened at all.
Jesus forgave them because that’s what death, burial, and resurrection looks like. It’s the path he chose. The path he surrendered to. He took responsibility.
Forgiveness was the sign.
“Tear down this temple, and I’ll rebuild it.” (John 2:19) And he did. Not with brute force or control or domination or manipulation.
Grace and forgiveness.
How on earth do we mere mortals embody that?
The fact that Luke 23:34 is omitted from many greek manuscripts suggests the difficulty and miraculousness of that kind of forgiveness.
Resurrection is pure possibility. And Jesus embodied humanity. We integrate this kind of miraculous forgiveness in the muck, mess, and marvelousness of our ordinary everyday lives.
In her book “Jesus Feminist,” Sarah Bessey said:
“Here is something I've learned about miracles: Miracles sometimes look like a kapow! Lightning-strike revelation; and sometimes miracles look like showing up for your counseling appointments. Sometimes miracles look like medication and patience and discipline. Sometimes it's the daily unsexy work of loving people and choosing justice, even if no one ever notices.”
The grander miracle is when you show up for your own life. Reject the small self – the ego – and set your spirit free. Be the sign you’re looking for.
Tear down this temple and by the grace of God, I’ll rebuild it. I’ll do the work. I’ll choose the path. Jesus has shown me the way…
This series finishes tomorrow, friend…
Written by Liz Milani