Interceding For the Ignorant

Michael Beck

“And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do …” (Luke 23:33,34)

Was Jesus being too generous? Did they really not know what they were doing? Of course they knew the horrific pain they caused Him; they had already gleefully tortured Him. In their book though He was a nobody. Why should He be treated with any dignity? “But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.” (Ps. 22:6)

To the Romans soldiers He was just another failed Jewish messiah who His own people rejected. To the chief priests, the rulers, and the people He was a heretic, a violator of the Sabbath, a transgressor of the law, a blasphemer worthy of death. When Jesus said, “they don’t know what they are doing,” He was saying “they don’t know who they are killing.” Not only were they killing an innocent man, they were killing the Lord of Glory – God Himself come in the flesh. They had no wisdom to understand. As Paul wrote: “Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1 Cor. 2:8)

Do we expect better treatment than our Master from those who are spiritually blind? They hated Him without a cause. Jesus told His disciples that because they were of Him, they would be hated as well. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” (John 15:8) And their hatred would lead to murder – all because they were without knowledge of who the Father is, who the Son is, and who we are. “… Yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.” (John 16:2,3)

Martyrdoms will increase as the end draws near. Those who are true followers of Christ will suffer persecution more and more at the hands of those who know full well the pain they are causing, but don’t care because they are profoundly ignorant. If that day comes upon you, what will your prayer to the Father be?

Learn to forgive the ignorant today, for far less pain than that of a cross.

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.