And Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide His clothes. (Luke 23:34)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. It really looks like they knew what they were doing! We read for chapters of their plans to seize Him. They waited until He was away from the crowds. They paid Judas off. They beat Him. They mocked Him, crowned Him with thorns, and beat and mocked Him some more. They even acknowledged that He had saved others, but said that He couldn’t save Himself.
They were dead wrong there! They didn’t know! It’s not that He can’t save Himself. It’s that He won’t save Himself. He refuses to do anything that doesn’t end in forgiveness for all people.
He hangs on the Cross for those who know what they do and for those who don’t. His holy life is lived to save everyone. His gruesome death is to save all—from the people who crucified Him, to you and me who live each day despising His crucifixion.
He died so that all might live forgiven. Forgiveness achieved by His death on the Cross. Forgiveness delivered to you, to others, to all, in His Holy Word and Sacraments.
So learn from Jesus as He defends the people who are murdering Him! He wants to forgive everyone, even them. “They can’t know what they are doing! They wouldn’t do this deliberately to Me! Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing!”
He’s teaching you and me to live the same. Stop looking at the motives of people, whether they do what they do deliberately or accidentally. That doesn’t matter in the end. All that matters is that Jesus died for them and that Jesus rose for them and that He wants all—even the evil people who do evil things to you—to be forgiven.
Live and be forgiven. Splash forgiveness on people who don’t deserve it. Don’t worry about whether they are sorry or not. Jesus has forgiven you sins that you haven’t a clue were sins. So having been forgiven, forgive. Isn’t the forgiveness won for all on the Cross all that matters? In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Merciful and everlasting God, You did not spare Your only Son but delivered Him up for us all to bear our sins on the cross. Grant that our hearts may be so fixed with steadfast faith in Him that we fear not the power of sin, death, and the devil; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for Holy Wednesday, LSB)