Daily Devotional: Psalms 22:12-18
12 Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. 13 Roaring lions tearing their prey open their mouths wide against me. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. 16 Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. 18 They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.
33 When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals-one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
From an earthly point of view, there could have not been anyone who seemed to be more helpless than Jesus as they hung him on the cross. He was surrounded by the soldiers with their swords and spears who were working under the authority of the Roman government. They drove nails through his hands and his feet so there was no way he could get loose. He was (it seemed) at their mercy. In the midst of this torture, the religious leaders mocked him while the solders showed their contempt by gambling over his clothing. It seemed all hope was gone.
But the truth is, the soldiers who scorned him were at his mercy because it was his Father who had allowed the Romans to rule and have authority. The same religious leaders who had condemned him in their courts were being held in contempt at the highest court of all; at the judgment bar of God. Jesus was not helpless and his plight was not hopeless! He was in the hands of God!
So, as he gave up his life, he asked the Father to forgive them because they did not understand what they were doing. They knew they were killing him but had no idea they were carrying out the will of God and in so doing that by his death they could have eternal life. This is our God of love and grace.
O Lord my God, what a wonderful morning to be able to praise you and to know I am a part of your family! I realize that those nails were driven into the hand of Jesus because of my sin. I know there is nothing I can do to earn or ever deserve your mercy. I thank you with all my heart for your grace and the forgiveness it makes possible for me in Jesus Christ. I pray for your church today. I ask that each of us who serve you will have a better understanding of your will and a heart of love. I ask your mercy on those who are suffering. I pray in Jesus name.