He was perfect. He had not sinned. On the contrary, He had loved outrageously, shown compassion extravagantly, healed abundantly, and set the oppressed free miraculously. Nonetheless, the same people He came to save and deliver, the same crowds He had fed, the same mob that had thronged Him wanting to just touch him now shouted, “Crucify Him!”
So there he hung, on a cross abandoned by those He loved, those He had come to save. Beaten. Humiliated. Betrayed. It is at this moment we see the true love of God. For He could have spoken curses over this nation. He could have called down hail and fire upon them. He could have commanded the angels to come and destroy them all. But Jesus looks at them and perhaps does the most powerful act of all his ministry. He forgives.
The crowd was unrepentant. They did not even know they needed forgiveness. Jesus was completely right. They were completely wrong. But with a heart full of compassion, He looked at the crowd and saw future converts, He saw those who would later come to know truth. He saw those who would never repent. But yet, he forgives them all. The whole unrepentant lot.
I want you to remember two things this Easter season. First, receive the forgiveness of God. You have been completely forgiven, past, present, and future, God is not remembering your past sins. He sees you as holy and blameless. Just as He could look at a crowd that betrayed Him and pronounce forgiveness, He looks at you and declares you are His forgiven son and daughter. Receive His forgiveness.
Secondly, forgive freely. Begin by forgiving yourself. Let go of your past failures. Stop holding your future hostage to your past mistakes. Forgive yourself and move forward. But just as importantly forgive others who have hurt you Jesus forgave without requiring the crowd to repent or to acknowledge their sin. He just forgave freely. He modeled forgiveness for us.
Let this Easter season resurrect you from a life of unforgiveness. Be set free! Receive his forgiveness and then freely forgive as your are forgiven.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34