A Devotional Thought for Lent

Detail from Salvador Dali's "Christ of St. John of the Cross" (1951)

Luke’s account of the Passion records that Jesus prayed from the cross,

 “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Well, did he?  Did God the Father forgive them?  The answer is yes.  How do we know?  Because Luke wrote a sequel, the Book of Acts.  And Acts 2 records what happened on the first Pentecost in Jerusalem.  Peter addressed the “men of Israel,”

this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.  God raised him up . . . (Acts 2:23-24)

Luke’s account continues:

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”  And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” . . . So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:37-41)

That was not the end of their story.  They continued as the Lord’s church by devoting themselves to the apostolic teaching, the fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayers.

So, because of Christ’s atoning death (yes, there is atonement theology in Luke-Acts), God the Father forgave them on Good Friday and through baptism delivered that forgiveness to them 52 days later.  Christ’s sacrifice was for all sinners, for the sinners on that first Friday in Jerusalem, and for sinners today like us.  “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5).

Lord Jesus, through it all help us hear in Your prayer the single purpose for which You endured pain and death:  “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  Amen. (Lutheran Book of Prayer [CPH, 1970] 63)

Related posts

Who Has Ever Even Heard of the Missouri Synod?

Who Has Ever Even Heard of the Missouri Synod?


Who Has Ever Even Heard of the Missouri Synod?

Paul Raabe reflects on the label “Lutheran” and how, in some contexts, it does not communicate to most Americans. We need to be able to explain ourselves to outsiders in ways intelligible to them. Maybe a church sign should say: “A Gospel-Baptism-Lord’s Supper-Bible-Creedal-Liturgical Church - Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.” These descriptions are the markers of our church body.

Pious Nonsense: “The Ancient Name of God Is the Sound of Our Breathing”

Pious Nonsense: “The Ancient Name of God Is the Sound of Our Breathing”


Pious Nonsense: “The Ancient Name of God Is the Sound of Our Breathing”

I’m writing this post for two reasons. First and generally, it is simply not helpful when Christians pass along claims about what something in the Bible “really means” when those claims are based on faulty or inaccurate information. Truth matters, and good information is important. Christians...

2022 Theological Symposium

2022 Theological Symposium


2022 Theological Symposium

The Exegetical Elephant in the Room? The upcoming 32nd Annual Theological Symposium, “Search the Scriptures: Finding Christ and Ourselves in the History of Exegesis,” will compare and contrast the ancient and modern exegetical methods and approaches to reading and interpreting the...

Leave a comment