The prophet Isaiah had been allowed to peer seven centuries into the future. There he saw in metaphorical pictures the great drama of salvation played out before him. There was the great Suffering Servant of the Lord, represented as a sheep, helpless and about to be slaughtered.
And silent. Jesus had very little to say at the three “judicial” hearings that condemned him and nothing at all to the guards and soldiers who abused him. They beat him, pounded a crown of thorns into his head, and flogged him. He bore it meekly. Even the brutal crucifixion did not wring curses, threats, and hate from his lips. But the four gospels record that he did speak seven times in those six horrible hours.
His first utterance was a word of grace. “When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’” (Luke 23:33,34). In those few words, Jesus summarized the entire purpose of his mission to earth—he came to bring the forgiveness of sins to people who are lost and clueless.
The cross of Christ did not cut short his saving work. It was his saving work. There the price of our forgiveness was paid in full. There you will find the forgiveness that you need for a happy life, a peaceful death, and a jubilant resurrection.
Pastor Mark Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in late 2001. A Milwaukee native, Pastor Jeske has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus, a multicultural congregation on Milwaukee’s near north side since 1980. In addition, he is the author of six books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics.
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