Recently, a friend asked me a very poignant question. He wanted to know what I felt was Jesus’ most “Jesus” moment. I knew immediately what he meant; what moment of Jesus’ life and ministry spoke to me the most.
His answer was Jesus showing compassion to the adulterous woman and challenging those who were judging her to throw the first stone if they were without sin (see John 8:1-11). I have always loved the side of Jesus that challenged the established, religious leaders. As He was extending grace to the sinner, He was scolding and educating the hypocritical aristocracy. I thought my friend had chosen his answer wisely!
My answer came to me almost immediately. When Jesus was hanging on the cross, suspended between Heaven and Earth, life and death, He looked down in His moment of greatest agony, upon the very source of His pain, and uttered “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:42). Jesus possessed all the power in the universe. With a word from His lips, a legion of angels would have come to His rescue, showing His tormentors that He was indeed the Son of God. He could have had instant relief from his agony and revenge upon those who were causing it.
But He willingly subjected Himself to death to restore man to the Father. And, even more unimaginable, used one of His final breaths to show love, grace, and forgiveness to his enemies.
As Christians, we should strive for the same level of compassion for those who come against us. We will most likely never endure the magnitude of emotions, rejection, or pain that Jesus was feeling in this moment. But, think about how we respond to those who mock us or those who inflict some level of emotional or physical abuse on us. Would we “strike them down” if we had the power to do so? Or, do we choose to love them regardless of how they have treated us?
It is my prayer and desire to show this kind of compassion to those who come against me. It is against everything in our human nature to do so, but we are called to turn away from our human nature and embrace the heart of the Father through the sacrifice of the Son. We are to lay down our stones, the one’s we carry but have no right to throw, and show people the same grace that was given to us.
This Sunday, June 11, 2017, we will sing about God’s grace and immeasurable love. Our mandate is to show the same measure of love and grace to others that God has shown to us…regardless of how they treat us.