Words from the Heart for Friday April 14th, 2017
And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.
Luke 23:33-34 (NKJV)
They Crucified Him
Jesus died on the cross between two criminals. People looked on and mocked Him. Most of His own followers left Him alone. Yet, Jesus declared before the Father, “Forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” He forgave them and He will also forgive us.
The bronze sculpture of a crucified Canadian sergeant, Canada’s Golgotha, which was produced in 1918 has been the centre of controversy since it was released. It shows the sergeant crucified against a barn door during the First World War, surrounded by jeering Germans. The problem is that it is likely that the incident never did take place. Canada’s Prime Minister at the time, Robert Borden asked for an investigation. The Germans claimed that it did not happen, and in January 1919 they formally requested that the Canada publicly acknowledge that the story was untrue, or else provide evidence. The Canadian government officially responded that they had sufficient evidence to believe that the account was true, but when the Germans demanded a part in the investigation, the sculpture was withdrawn from a London exhibition. It was not shown again until the 1990s.
There were so many people involved in the travesty of justice that was Jesus’ trial and murder. The religious leaders were driving it, the Roman authorities were complicit and the mobs were the most vocal. With the exception of His mother, a few other women, and the youngest of His followers, John, the entire world was either opposed to Him or had bailed on Him. While this was the most obvious moment of the world’s opposition to the Kingdom of God, and in particular to the King of that Kingdom, this wasn’t a surprise to Jesus, nor was it anything new. Jesus knows every human heart. He knows that when sin reigns in the human heart, it always opposes the principles of God’s Kingdom. He knows that until a heart is redeemed and transformed, it demands its own rights, and longs for the freedom to do as it pleases. Jesus spoke very little during the kangaroo court that was His trial, but even in His silence He posed a threat to the selfishness of human religion and political power. And He transformed lives by forgiving those who crucified Him. Luke 23:33-34 tells us “And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.”
These have been words from the heart.