And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. Luke 23:34 ESV
They took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,
“They divided my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.” John 19:23b-24a ESV
Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression. Psalm 19:12-13 ESV
Mrs. Sutton loved books, and she had a lot of them. Some of them were rare and precious books that would be hard to replace. Her little girl, Sadie, wasn’t quite three years old, but she liked books, too. Sadie didn’t know how to treat books well, and once when Mrs. Sutton wasn’t looking, Sadie took one of her rare books and scribbled in it with a pen, and then she tore out one page and tore that page into little pieces! When Mrs. Sutton saw what her daughter had done, she was very angry, but she knew it wouldn’t be fair to punish Sadie, because the little girl hadn’t known what she was doing. So Mrs. Sutton forgave her daughter, but after that she was careful to watch Sadie when she was around books, and to teach the little girl the right way to treat them.
When the soldiers put Jesus on the cross, they were only doing their job. To them Jesus was just another criminal who deserved the death sentence. One of the perks of their job was that they got to keep the clothes that belonged to the criminals who died, and so they played a gambling game to see who would get which piece of Jesus’ clothing. They didn’t know that the man they were killing and whose clothes they were taking was the Son of God. Jesus knew that they didn’t realize what they were doing, and so he prayed to his Heavenly Father to forgive them. Jesus’ love reached out from the cross to the soldiers, and he gave them a word of forgiveness instead of judgment. Jesus wanted them to hear his prayer. Maybe the soldiers would wonder who Jesus really was, and if they would come to know him, they could have all their sins forgiven and become part of his people.
Jesus’ love reaches out to us from the cross, too. He died there so that all our sins could be forgiven, even the sins we don’t understand or know about. He teaches us through his word how to follow him more closely and to better understand who he is to us and how we sin against him in our lives. He sends us his Holy Spirit to help us obey him, and to help us forgive others who sin against us, the way that Jesus does.
Dear Jesus, thank you for your wonderful love and forgiveness. Amen.