Gospel Message & Recording
These are the words of Christ as He hung on the Cross beaten and mangled, staring at His accusers and those that crucified Him. How can a man utter such words after what He had gone through? The question provides the answer! That is, a mere man cannot utter such words. He must be God!
Often when we think of the divinity of Christ--His divine nature—we recall His miracles and His resurrection. But seldom to we consider what makes Jesus God is the fact that He forgave His enemies on the Cross. Yes, the passion and resurrection of Christ is without doubt of primary importance to our salvation and the work of God. However, I submit that Christ’s words of forgiveness on the Cross are equally important. In other words, the evidence that Jesus is God was His ability to forgive. No mere human being could have done that.
While attending Penn State University as an undergraduate student, I had the opportunity to speak with a student who was a professing Hindu. In our conversation about religion, I came to know that he also believed in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. I was, to say the least, perplexed. How can a Hindu make such a confession and still consider himself to be a Hindu? Nevertheless, I did not want to make that a point of contention. Rather, I wanted to know why he believed in Christ. He answered the question by saying: “A mere man could not forgive his crucifiers. He had to be God, in order to forgive.” Suddenly, this so-called Hindu student had opened my eyes to understand my own faith, and see it as I had not seen it before.
Many of us say we love God. But have we ever seen God or spoken with Him? Probably not! It’s easy to love God; but it is hard to love your neighbor. Your neighbor will talk back to you, despise you, hate you and do evil against you. If we learn to forgive such people and to pray for them, we become God-like. In the Christianity of America, we think God-likeness is about healing, miracles, and prosperity. But the greatness of God is demonstrated in loving our enemies and forgiving them.
For many of us, we probably don’t have enemies, such as Christ had. There are areas of our life, however, that we hold grudges. There might have been something negative that happened to us in the past and we are not willing to forgive someone. If we are in this predicament, then we must let go of the grudges and forgive that particular someone. When we do forgive, we will grow closer to Christ and become Godly. This is for our own sake. So that we live a wholesome life, not being held down by other people’s actions toward us.
Small Group Discussion Questions
Discuss why Christ could forgive his enemies?
Is it possible for us to forgive our enemies if they have done physical, emotional or spiritual harm to us? What are some ways that we can come to terms with forgiving others who have hurt us?
Have you ever forgiven anyone? How were you able to do it? Where you able to grow closer to God by forgiving?