Ten Words

Ten Words

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Written by: 
Published:
April 8, 2020

Thorns. Naked. Dying already. The clamor doesn’t matter. The nails don’t matter. The anger doesn’t matter. On this little hill called Golgotha only one thing matters. In ten words Jesus spoke Heaven’s focus.

Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.

In His anguish, Jesus paved the way home for those who killed Him. As he lay dying, his words reached past the terrible hours of that day to a time when fragile mortals might realize they had killed the Son of God. His focus was even for murderers to know God wanted them. His focus was to let them know the door was open.

Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.

Shamed, vulnerable, ostensibly abandoned, church leaders cheering His murder, Jesus rested in his relationship with His Father. Despite the jeers, despite the taunts, His words show His relationship with His Father is intact. In fact, they show that at the doors of death, Father and Son continue to work in tandem as They present before the universe their plan of salvation.

Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.

Despite the taunts and doubts, and even despite the hopelessness of His followers, Jesus shows He is still the intercessor between Heaven and Earth. As He was nailed to a cross, his role in saving us continued. 

Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.

His words answer issues from the tree in Eden: Would disobeying Heaven cause harm? The cross pours blinding light on the harm done because, separated from God, we do not know the depth of what we are doing — to the earth, to each other, and to God.

Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.

Jesus’ words answer the questions of the war in Heaven: Is God selfish? Is God a God of vengeance? Again, His words pour blinding light on the risk God is willing to take to win us with Heaven’s love. His words show the level of responsibility God is willing to assume for those He created. His words show that the glory shining in the face of Jesus is the glory of self-sacrificing love.

Forgive them Father for they know not what they do

On the plain of Dura, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah faced Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace and chose to follow God’s way, even if it meant death. On Golgotha Jesus saw the tomb and knew that, even if there was no life beyond this moment, He would still love.

Forgive them Father for they know not what they do

These ten words let the unfallen angels and unfallen worlds know God’s character has been vindicated. In a time of stress and confusion during that heavenly war, the unfallen ones had made the right choice.

Forgive them Father for they know not what they do

These ten words let Satan and his fallen angelic cohort know that hate has lost. Love will win. 

Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.

Above Jesus’ head Pilate had ordered a sign placed with the words “King of the Jews.” In Eden God began to show Earth what Kingship or dominion meant when a planet, filled with beneficence, was prepared for the most recent subjects of the universe. Nurture, beauty, joy, communication, and rest were the first known qualities of rule. Immediately after the fall of humanity, God continued to show Heaven’s meaning of rule when the King went searching for the lost and scared ones: His focus was to put before them the way of our rescue.

At the last supper Jesus showed what dominion meant when He washed the feet of twelve insecure, scared men. The Ruler as Servant demonstrated what Heaven is willing to do to break down our defenses and divisions with love. While being nailed to an ignominious cross, these words of Jesus continue to show that rulership, kingship, and dominion include reaching out to those we might consider abhorrent with a lifeline. With these ten words, Jesus showed again the depth of what it means to be the King of the Jews, and of all of us.

Forgive them Father for they know not what they do

We have the choice to understand. 

We have the choice to see the victory. 

We have the choice to see the love. 

And, as a gift, the Holy Spirit gives us the chance, the choice, and the power, to live in that extraordinary love.

 

Catherine Taylor is a family therapist who specializes in grief, trauma, and in the development of large and small benevolent systems. Inside the Adventist Church, she has been a Sabbath School teacher, sermon presenter, Bible study facilitator, camp meeting speaker, and writer on various Bible topics.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

 

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