Hanging from the cross he cried, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
There was something Jesus knew and understood about the jeering mob. He knew that it wasn’t because they were evil that they insisted on his death. No, like a father with compassion on his children, he knew they simply didn’t know any better.
They thought they were doing the right thing. They believed in what they were doing. Their chanting wasn’t because they were evil. It was because they were blind, they were ignorant of the light.
They didn’t know what they were doing.
We haven’t evolved that much as humans since that time. I mean, we’d like to think we’d see Jesus for who he was — the Light of the world, the way, the truth, and the life. I’d love to believe I’d be the one who understood the Light that flooded the dark world. I’d love to believe I wouldn’t be standing in that crowd.
But then again, he was radical, anti-cultural with all his crazy talk about turning the other cheek, blessing those who curse you and doing greater things than him. I’ve had 2,000 years to grow accustomed to such asinine beliefs like forgiving the very people who stab you in the back and shout for your death.
But maybe if I had been standing in that crowd, killing a rogue teacher would’ve seemed like the right thing to do. I’m not so arrogant to believe I wouldn’t be standing in that crowd, because maybe I’m currently standing in the wrong crowd. Maybe I’ve got it all wrong right here, right now. Who am I to believe I’ve got this whole thing figured out?
Stretching through time and space, Jesus knew how slow humanity is to grow with enlightenment. As Jesus called out, the words he spoke went beyond the men and women standing in front of him that day. He was forgiving you and me. He was talking about humanity as a whole, because still after all this time we still don’t know what we’re doing.
We still freak out when things don’t happen like we think they should.
We still get angry when someone shows up with radical ideas that don’t match our own.
We still panic when things change.
We still fear what we don’t understand.
That’s because it takes time for the darkness to comprehend the light. It can be overwhelming, scary, painful, and too intense. It takes time to adjust to the Light. And that’s ok because the Light knows how they were formed. He remembers that they are dust.
We’ll get there. One day at a time, one mistake at a time.