Crucifixion was one of the most cruel and painful forms of execution ever devised. The victim was nailed to a cross-shaped piece of wood and left to dehydrate or bleed to death as others watched on.
And yet at this point Jesus spoke again to his Father God. This time it wasn’t to ask to be rescued. Instead he was praying that the people who crucified him would be forgiven.
Forgiveness is not just a feeling. It’s also a choice. We can only really forgive the people who have hurt us. Notice that Jesus asks God to forgive his murderers – as if God is the one who is really being wounded.
Even hardened soldiers must have gone home after a crucifixion, washing the blood from their clothes and thinking about the terrible suffering they had inflicted. I wonder what the soldiers who heard Jesus’ prayer were thinking.
Luke 23: 33-34
When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”