Do we expect Jesus’ prayers to be answered?
Do you think that if Jesus prayed for you His prayer would be answered?
Wouldn’t you like Jesus to pray for you?
I mean, if he offered wouldn’t you? This extraordinary person.
Here on the cross in his agony Jesus prays
Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.
Still it’s Father.
Even in the agony.
The crucifying pain.
I find it difficult to call God Father when I go through a bad time.
But here Jesus calls him Father. In his excruciating agony.
In this vicious, agonising torture that the Roman Empire had devised to create a lingering death for anyone who dared to stand up to them.
“Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.
Surely the High Priest knew what he was doing when he said
You know nothing at all! You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed. (Jn 11:49-50, NRSV)
Surely Pilate knew what he was doing. He hated the Jews and anything to wind them up was ok by him. Toying with Jesus and the Jewish leaders in a kangaroo court.
Or the soldiers. Trained to kill. They knew what they were doing. They knew how to do their job – efficiently and painfully and brutally.
And the disciples. They knew what they were doing running away and leaving Him. They may have been frightened but they knew what they were doing.
So too for us.
We know what we do.
We have brought into a worldview where we are prepared to sacrifice others for “the greater good”.
We have brought into a world where violence and injustice is accepted as the way the world is.
On the cross Jesus lets individual decisions as well as institutional decisions crush him. Torture him. Kill him. Silence him.
That’s why Rembrandt paints himself as one of those crucifying Jesus. He understood that he plays a part in it.
And Jesus asks for forgiveness – for all of us. For our participation in that. All of us. Christian and non-Christian alike.
Does the Father answer that prayer?
Is that why it’s called Good Friday?