A lot of you may remember The Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;[a]
And forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
I took this as meaning that God would forgive us *IF* we forgave others. So I’ve been willing to forgive others when they ask for it. I thought that was enough.
But Jesus took this to the next level as he was on the cross, when he asked God, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
Nobody had even asked Jesus to forgive them yet – and many never did. But he was forgiving them IN ADVANCE. Think of what sin he was forgiving – the sin of killing himself, an innocent man – and God’s own son. And this wasn’t just about personal forgiveness…I think Jesus didn’t want God’s wrath to come against those who condemned and hanged him on the cross to die – so he was asking the Father to also forgive.
This was truly Jesus’ mission – to become the buffer between us and God, to protect us from the final judgment against our sins in God’s eyes.
John the baptist said “to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God — children born not of blood, nor of the desire or will of man, but born of God“.