And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. (34) Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.Luke 23:33-34
Jesus spent the last few minutes of “freedom” that He had praying in agony to His Father. He was then betrayed by Judas and arrested. He was unjustly tried all night long by the religious leaders, and then brought to Pilot and Herod. He was convicted and scourged. They placed a crown of thorns on His head and made Him carry His cross.
When we come to today’s text, we see the place. Jesus was brought to this place called Calvary. It went by another name called “Golgotha”. Calvary is just the latin name for the same place. It means “the place of the skull”. It was a place for execution.
We also see the purpose. They brought him here for a reason. It says, “there they crucified him”. Crucifixion was a cruel and punishing form of execution. It was perfected by the Romans as a way to execute a person in a way that took a long period of time. Sometimes crucifixion would take days to kill a man. People who were cruicified not only had the pain of being nailed to a cross, but ultimately died because of the suffocation they experienced being unable to breath.
“When the wrists were nailed to the crossbar, the elbows were intentionally left in a bent position so that the crucified man would hang with his arms above his head, the weight being taken on the nails in the wrists. Obviously this was unbearably painful, but it had another effect: It is very difficult to exhale in this position. In order to breathe out, and then take in fresh air, it was necessary to push the body up on the nailed feet. When the pain from the feet became unbearable, the victim would again slump down to hang by the arms. A terrible cycle of pain began: hanging by the arms, unable to breathe, pushing up on the feet to inhale quickly before again slumping down, and on and on.”“A (more accurate) Medical Account of the Crucifixion” – Douglas Jacoby
In this passage we also see the people. Many people were there. First, these verses describe two others that were crucified as “the malefactors, one on His right, and the other on the left”.
Other people were there, too. We have the Roman soldiers themselves that did the actual crucifixion. They nailed Jesus to the cross, and then they gambled for His clothes. I believe it was about the soldiers and the rest of those that were present for which Jesus said, “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.” What an incredible statement! The inclination of the attitude of those described is at best indifference, and at the worst malice and mocking. Jesus attitude toward them was one of forgiveness. He was bearing their sin while they actively crucified him and supported His suffering and pain.
There is something fundamental we must understand about forgiveness here. Forgiveness is not based on the deservedness of the people that need forgiveness. Jesus desired forgiveness for these people when they did not deserve it. Jesus was dying on the cross so that these very people could be forgiven. He died so that we can be forgiven.
God loves people.
(8) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:8
Is there anyone in your life that you need to forgive?