A Prayer of Mercy
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:32-34).
This is surely one of the most stunning statements ever made by mortal tongue. If we were to imagine the least likely thing Jesus might say from the cross, would we think of even this?
It is inconceivable that the gospel writers invented:
- a god who lowered himself to the level of humanity
- a god who allowed Himself to be tortured without retaliation; and
- while under this state of the extreme duress and suffering, not only NOT erupting in vengeance, but instead, begging mercy for others
There are several schools of thought concerning those to whom this prayer applied, but it seems to us that, like Moses the Law-giver and Mediator, this prayer of our Lord is the ultimate intercessory prayer of our Law-giver, Mediator, and Great High Priest.
Jesus’ prayer of mercy is not only for unwitting participants in the hour of his death, but an intercession from our High Priest on behalf of all humanity. One shudders to think what might have become of us had our High Priest prayed an imprecatory prayer rather than an intercessory one.
It is conceivable (as time is not reckoned with God as with men) that this prayer prayed by this man at this hour was the request that stayed God’s wrath from the moment of mankind’s first sin (Rev. 13:8).