When Jesus utters those words form the cross, "Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing," what do you thing Jesus is thinking or talking about? What don't they know? This is pre-emptive grace.
Are they simply an ignorant bunch who do not understand, and have no idea of the consequences of their actions, or of the providence of God in the midst of this debacle. The seriousness of what God is doing in Christ has not yet become clear to them. May it become clear to us as we begin to recognise this extraordinary forgiveness flowing for the Cross.
These words, flowing for the heart and soul of Jesus are not just words of the moment, they are words from the beginning of time; these are the words before our words, these are actions before our actions, this is the reason we can forgive at all; We are “forgiven forgivers.”
Because God is who God is we can ca say, even before sin there was forgiveness. It echoes the phrase, “Before Abraham was, I am.”(Jn.8.38).
Mark Davis, in his comments on this passage writes of “Ridiculous forgiveness and Reasonable Evil” in that we can so easily rationalise to ourselves, even to God if we are really clever, that our debt or transgression is not really so great, and our reluctance to really forgive each other. This parable is designed to stir up our sense of justice while at the same time exposing our own prejudices. Now, with all this stirred up
and revealed, Paul writes in the epistle for this week, “Accept one another, just as God has accepted you”(Romans 14:1, 15:7).
And, finally, each we pray, “Our Father, … forgive us, as we forgive”
Maybe, to emphasise the gracious nature of forgiveness we should re-order our prayers so that the forgiveness precedes our confession.
“How we judge and treat the people around us, on a simple day to day level, not only determines our relationship with them but the very quality of life in our community.” To be a community of Christ.