The tone of religion, more often than not, rings as a dirge of condemnation. We see the old crooked finger of legalism and malicious apologetics steadily pointing into the mass of stumbling sinners, almost relishing the chance to find a scapegoat for the brokenness of the world. But as we look at the cross and our Savior affixed to it, we hear these words: “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” His words were spoken in earshot of humanity.
Father forgive the traitor, the Pharisees, the Romans, the soldiers, the harlots, the fearful, the conspirators, the tax collectors, and, yes, even My mother.
And when we read this noble cannon of divine literature, it compels us to understand that these words would include the whole of humanity. He forgives them all: the extortion expert, the mob hit man, the pornographer, the mass murdered, the abortion doctor and the pastor. We all have an open invitation to be forgiven. Something in the human heart wants to earn or achieve his forgiveness. Perhaps we could make amends for our humanity. But this is not the Gospel. This is not the Good News. The Good News is that Jesus accomplished everything on the cross and, frankly, He doesn’t need our help to finish the deal.
In the story of Gospel we read the revolutionary truth from the lips of God, “For God didn’t send his only Son into this world to condemn it, but that the world through Him might be saved.”