Image used with permission: SundaySocial

No one is born willing to lay down their life for the next person. When food is abundant, I will give you my plate, but once there is any kind of scarcity, I will think about me first. This is a tough choice we all make – the choice to seek for “my good” when there is scarcity, to think “me first” when there is danger. Consequently, my choice to preserve me, on the other hand would let others die!

This is why the response of Jesus while on the cross, is just so incredible. In the gospels, we see Jesus teaching, healing the sick, raising the dead, feeding thousands with a few loaves of bread, walking on water – displaying divine power in abundance. Yet, when the Pharisees tortured him, sent him to Pontius Pilate to be condemned to painful death, on false charges, he did not think “me first”. On the cross, on his last breath, he offered the ultimate selfless prayer for his tormentors!

Luke 23:32-34 (NIV) says: ‘Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.’

Furthermore, in Hebrews 7:23-25 (NIV) we read thus: “Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede [pray] for them.”

Hebrews 7 compares Jesus with the priests of the Old Testament; those priests offered prayers for the people, but their service ended at death. In comparison, Jesus rose from the dead, and he lives to pray for us; to pray for ‘those who come to God through him’. If he could pray ‘Father forgive them’ for his tormentors, he is surely praying selflessly for me and you – share your troubles with him!

Jesus, thank you for your selfless prayer for them, for me, for us, Amen!

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