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
I was struck by two events today: one great – the other terribly sad. First the great! Our church re-opened after 6 months: Yay!! Pastor Johnny Scott came in after an awesome worship service and preached on the unity that Jesus prayed for before He went to the cross.
He shared the message that we desperately need a revival of the holiness and unity in the church that Jesus prayed for. We are not divided in Christ. We are all His family. We are from every race and every nation. We are each unique. We are all kinds of people both poor and rich. No matter what anyone else thinks Jesus thought we were valuable enough to give His life for us.
But I was also struck by a sad second event that happened in Compton California today. There two deputies from the sheriff’s department lay in a hospital room fighting for their lives. They had been ambushed and shot in the head by unknown people who had as their goal division and hate.
Shockingly, while doctors and nurses battled to save their lives, a crowd gathered outside the emergency entrance of the hospital shouting for the death of the police. It reminded me of another scene 2,000 years ago when a different crowd demanded for Jesus to be crucified and Barabbas the murderer set free. They loudly screamed and insisted for so long that finally Pontius Pilate ordered for Jesus to be led away to Golgotha.
“No Justice – No Peace!” Is one of those often used phrases in the social justice movement. Of course it sounds pretty snappy, but I for one am glad that Jesus chose different words as He hung on the cross. Instead of demanding justice and the death of His executioners; He chose words of true peace. If Jesus had waited around for the world to get good enough to deserve His peace, He would still be waiting today. Instead He offered forgiveness. He offered a full pardon for all of us who are as guilty as Barabbas and as worthy of punishment as the shooters of those two innocent deputies. We have all sinned and wandered away from God’s love. The good news for today, is that Jesus came to bring something way better than justice. Jesus came to bring mercy. Jesus came to love. Those are things that I desperately need! How about you?