The Call of Mercy
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34.
One day, centuries ago, Jesus was in close conversation with the Father. The angels looked on. The air was heavy with suspense. Everyone was wondering how God’s original plan had gone wrong after sin entered, and they were wondering what God would do to complete the plan.
After a long time, Jesus came from that close communion with His Father, and it was revealed that He had offered Himself to die in man’s place. God gave all heaven, His own Son. He couldn’t have given anything more.
Here you see God and Jesus together, one in purpose. They’re together in this great plan of redemption. God’s character is best revealed by Jesus and how Jesus related to sinners when He was on this earth.
He gave the Jews mercy time and time again. They had turned God down earlier, killing the prophets and stoning those who had been sent to help them. Finally, God sent His Son Jesus in person, as the greatest manifestation of Himself. “Give them another opportunity.” What a demonstration of His mercy!
If we had been on the cross, with evil men mocking us, we would have said, “Bring on the twelve legions of angels. Bring them on. We’ll deal with these people.” But instead, Jesus uttered the pardoning words, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
Even after the cross, God’s patience wasn’t over. After the nation was rejected, He continued to plead with individuals.
The Shekinah glory was removed from the Temple, but God sent the disciples first of all to Jerusalem, to the place where Jesus had issued the words of doom, “Your house is left unto you desolate.” During all the missionary journeys of the apostles, the Jewish people were included year after year.
As Stephen was stoned to death by an angry mob, the Holy Spirit came upon him, and he prayed, “Forgive them. Don’t give up on them yet.”
Don’t let this story rest simply with the people in Christ’s day. Apply it to your life, to your family, to those you’ve been praying for. His call of mercy and love continues today–to every person, to every heart.
from Faith that Works
Morris Venden | Review & Herald (2000)
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