Praying For Our Enemies
Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them.”
In the first century, the common attire for a Jewish man included five pieces of clothing—footwear, turban, belt, loincloth and outer tunic. After crucifying Jesus, the soldiers divided the Saviour’s garments as their spoils for performing the task (Luke 23:34). After each took a portion of clothing, one remained; the tunic. This implies that even the loincloth was taken, and the Lord's last shred of human dignity with it. In fulfilment of David’s messianic song, they stripped Jesus naked and then gambled for the tunic. In Psalm 22:17-18, crucifixion was prophetically described some six hundred years before it was invented, David said it would be so.
Two thousand years ago, the battered, naked body of the Lord Jesus hung in humiliation on a cross before a crowd of onlookers. Did He lash out at His tormentors? No. Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’ (Luke 23:34). Though falsely convicted and crucified, He prayed for His enemies. Later, He told another humiliated man, a criminal, that—because of the man’s faith—he would soon be with Him “in paradise” (v 43). In His pain and shame, Jesus chose to share words of hope and life out of love for others.
Praying for our enemies, is not always an easy thing to do, nevertheless, it is a command, an obligation for the Christian.
Jesus, I praise You for Your example of grace and humility. Please help me reflect those things in my words, even as I speak to those who may not be caring or kind. Amen.