Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing {The Last Words of Jesus}

Back raw with the wounds of scourging, face dripping blood from the crown of thorns, with spikes in His hands and feet, Jesus cries,


Jesus is living out God’s teaching: Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you.

Jesus is demonstrating God’s heart. It looks to me like His enemies know exactly what they’re doing: They set Him up, they trapped Him, they rejoice even as He suffers, mocking Him.

And He says, “They do not know what they are doing…”

Picture yourself, standing at the foot of the cross on that dark day, a friend of Jesus, grieving what has been done to Him. How do you feel, hearing Him cry forgiveness? Can you forgive those who put Him here, believing they don’t know what they’re doing?

Does it help you to forgive them, knowing Jesus’ forgiveness includes you, too? We lash out at goodness, hating ourselves, hurting others. Crucifying, over and over. We don’t know what we’re doing.


Can I extend this same grace to my enemies, or even to those who simply annoy  and inconvenience me? When wronged, can I pray, “Father, forgive them?” Even in the face of human calculating, deceit, harm, can I see a bigger picture, “They don’t understand what they’re doing”?

Take a moment and think of someone who has wronged you, maybe even someone you would consider an enemy. Ask Jesus to join you in your thoughts and memories of this person. Picture the look in His eyes. Are they included in His forgiveness? In yours?



Every day between now and Good Friday, come back here to find a devotional on one of the last statements of Jesus from the cross, as well as an invitation to slow down and meet Jesus at the foot of the cross.

I’ve compiled all of these posts into a PDF for my subscribers. If you’d like a copy of that, you can sign up here.


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