November 23

 Luke 23:33-38

“Then Jesus said, ’Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they cast lots to divide his clothing.” vs. 34

Those of us who watch the Netflix series called “The Crown” have gotten a pretty good idea of what it’s like to sit on the throne of England. We know the glory, wealth, and prestige that comes from being a king or queen. In the gospels it is intimated that Jesus is a king–we even celebrate the last Sunday of Pentecost as Christ the King Sunday. But his kingship was a far cry from that of earthly monarchs! His throne was a cross and he ruled as Suffering Servant. Those who attended his coronation treated it as a joke and mocked him as he hung dying. They teased him for his weakness and hurled insults as he bled and died. And his last words to them were, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” What magnificent last words! Jesus doesn’t ask for retribution against those who put him to death. He doesn’t ask God to strike them down–all he wants for them is forgiveness. Oh what a king we have, and what a kingdom he has given us! There is no mistaking his example or intention for how we shall live. Where did we ever get the notion that it’s fine to seek vengeance against those who do us wrong? Perhaps it’s a primal survival instinct; it certainly didn’t come from King Jesus!

Thought for the Day: Why isn’t restoration a central value of our justice system?

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