Week 5: Forgiveness
Scripture: Luke 23:32-38, Psalm 69
Prayer: “Lord God Almighty, you have made all the peoples of the earth for your glory, to serve you in freedom and in peace: Give to the people of our country a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. – Amen”
Reflection: Spend a few minutes to reflect on the scripture.
Insight: Crucifixion was a form of execution by torture. The point was to prolong the death publicly for all to see and be warned not to partake in similar behavior. Jesus was crucified between two criminals which fulfils the prophecy in Isaiah 53:12. Even in the midst of this tormenting experience, Jesus remains true to his own vision: God is still his Father, and love for his enemies is still his practice. Forgiveness is a central part of Luke as well as in Acts, the element of ignorance will be stressed, as forgiveness is offered to any and all, even to those responsible for the execution of Jesus (Acts 3:17; 13:27; 17:20).
We have probably prayed some of these verses in Psalm 69 before. It is so easy to jump to verse 22-28 when we have been backstabbed or hurt by others. In Jesus’ most agonizing moment on the cross we see the worst kind of mockery and backstabbing, yet Christ stayed true to his vision. It might have been easy for Luke to leave out the central theme of forgiveness and throw in “punish them first and then forgive them”, but he didn’t, he stayed true to the voice of Christ. Through Jesus Christ we are offered forgiveness and so are those in which we are surrounded.
Notes: Take some notes to remind yourself of any insight you might have gained.
Go: Become quiet and still. As you read the crucifixion account, become one of the thieves. What did you see from this perspective? What do you feel as you hear the words, “forgive them”? Let Jesus call you into prayer.
Prayer taken from: Phyllis Tickle, Eastertide: Prayers for Lent Through Easter from The Divine Hours (New York, NY: A Galilee Book, 2004), 162.
Insight compiled from: John Nolland, Word Biblical Commentary: Vol. 35C-Luke 18:35-24:53 (Dallas, TX: Word Books, Publisher, 1993).
Go compiled from: Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices that Transform Us (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005).