"He brought me to the Banqueting House, and His Banner over me was Love."

Three Powerful Words ...

Picture this scene:

     In a 24-hour time period, Jesus was put through emotional trauma. An individual close to him had betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver, turning him over to his enemies who arrested him on trumped-up charges. One of his closest friends three times denied even knowing him. His other close friends quickly deserted him.

     He faced, all alone, the most powerful political and religious figures in the country who were plotting his eventual death. He was subject to a kangaroo court of the most ludicrous kind and was tried and convicted without the proof of evidence against him. The ruthless and sadistic soldiers holding him abused and brutalized him. They mocked him and spit on him. He was flogged and his skin ripped by whips to near death. They placed a crown of thorns on him and laughed at his wounded and bloodied body.

     The judge placed Jesus before a bloodthirsty mob who were antagonized on by religious leaders. The mob loudly chanted for his execution. He was forced to carry his own cross through public streets to the hill of his execution. His hands and feet were cruelly spiked to the cross and his body jolted as he was hoisted up and displayed between two criminals for public mockery. Below him it was a circus atmosphere. He was sneered at. His father turned his back on him. A dark cloud blotted out the sun.

     It was the most dismal and brutal way to die. Yet, in the middle of this He said three of the most powerful words ever spoken: "Father, forgive them." Luke 23:34

What would you have done?

     Would you have forgiven the friends who betrayed you? Would you have forgiven the religious leaders who called for your death? Would you have forgiven the judge who put you through a mock trial? Would you have forgiven the sadistic soldiers who tortured you?

     I feel pretty strongly I could not have done that. It would be completely against human nature for any of us to forgive those who just finished brutalizing us. Yet, that is exactly what Jesus did.

"Father, forgive them"

     Those three words of prayer: "Father, forgive them" turned out to be the most powerful prayer ever made .. because His prayer was answered. It was answered for you and for me.

     All those soldiers were forgiven, all the political and religious leaders were forgiven, as well as his friends who had denied and deserted him. God answered the prayer of His son Jesus, and he kept answering it for a host of people of every kind and tongue and nation. He has forgiven us. Can we forgive others the same Christ forgave us?

     Jesus tells us what our answer should be at Matthew 18:23-35 with the story of the two debtors. The first debtor owed a large sum to his Lord and begged for leniency, which the master granted by forgivng the debt. This same forgiven debtor then turned and persecuted a fellow servant who owed him a small sum, and refused to forgive the debt owed him. When the Master found out, he restored the debt of the first debtor and turned him over to the tormentors.

Three powerful words

     Is there someone out there that you have refused to forgive? If you desire and enjoy the forgiveness of our Saviour, then you are in serious error if you are holding a grudge against someone and refusing to forgive them.

     Surely, no one has put you through even an inkling of what Jesus went through .. yet he uttered that most powerful three words in a prayer .. "Father, forgive them," and the debts He forgave are so much greater than any debts and trespasses by someone against you.

     You can also utter three powerful words: "I forgive you." When you say those words, you free yourself from the prison of bitterness.

     Three powerful words. Try them.

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