“A man…had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later changed his mind and went. Then, the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he...
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34 (NIV)
We’ve taken a step back to look at what the men who crucified Jesus were actually doing at the cross. Now let’s take a look at what Christ himself was doing on the cross.
Thank God Jesus does not just look down from the cross and say, “They do not know what they are doing!” Jesus taught: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44), and that’s precisely what he is doing here.
Christ prays for his enemies; and he does it even as they inflict excruciating pain on him! The people who were pouring out cruelty on him are the very ones who are on his heart; so he prays for them while they are crucifying him!
Christ has compassion on them because he knows what they are doing! He knows the heaven they are spurning, the eternal hell they are preparing, and who they are defying. Jesus knows the full weight of the sin they are committing, and he has compassion.
Christians should be the most compassionate people in the world. If you know the hell sin brings, the heaven it spurns, and the God it defies, you will have compassion for sinners. Knowing what sin is and where it leads will soften your heart, and it will help you to grow in compassion.
Will you ask God to soften your heart and help you grow in compassion for sinners?