There is a special affinity that Jesus has for those who do not believe in Him. He did not mock or ridicule those who refused to believe in God–He loved them. David wrote in Psalm 109:4: In return for my love, they are my accusers, But I give myself to prayer.
The testimony of Luke, the physician, is that during the time of the crucifixion, Jesus cried our in prayer for those who had rejected Him and placed Him on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” –Luke 23:34
Jesus message to the Atheist is this:
“I understand at this point in your life, you do not believe in me. It is because you don’t understand, that you cannot believe. Come to me and seek me with all of your heart and I will give you understanding…”
To pray for those who have wrongfully accused you and cause your death is beyond possibility for a mere human being. Most of us, when we are harmed by another, immediately begin to contemplate how we might hurt our tormentors in return. We may catch our wrong attitudes and correct our thinking, but the first thoughts of our mind when we have been wronged are nearly always for revenge.
The fact that the Psalmist knew in advance of the Messiah’s amazing love for those who were causing Him the greatest harm, is beyond happenstance. The Holy Spirit was aware that Jesus would pray for those who betrayed Him, beat Him, and put Him to death. He loved even those who caused Him the greatest suffering. As God, Jesus understands us. He knows our composition, and how often we are quite ignorant and unaware.
In the movie The Passion, as Jesus is being nailed to the Cross, the man who has driven the spikes into His flesh can take the guilt he feels no more. As Jesus prays for him from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” the love and the forgiveness that Jesus displayed throughout His crucifixion is more than this guilty man could bear. He takes the hammer that he used to pierce Jesus’ hands and feet and throws it away in disgust. Though he caused Jesus so much pain and suffering, the Lord was loving him to the very end.
If you have thus far rejected Jesus Christ in your life, you have been a participant in the suffering that He endured. It is also true that all of us put Jesus on the Cross by our own sins. It was our wrongful acts that put Him to death, not anything that He had done. Jesus was without sin; He was perfect in every way. He came to bear all ours sin and take our place at the fury and vengeance of God against sin.
Can you see a picture in your mind of Jesus hanging from the splintered wooden cross? Can you see the massive amount of blood that has poured forth from His tortured body? The torn flesh and the missing handfuls of His beard torn out? The 4-inch thorns pressed into His skull and the 9-inch spikes that have pierced His hands and feet to fasten Him to the cross?
Jesus was looking down from His place of suffering, all the way through time, and into your eyes. He is simply asking you today if you understand why He endured so much pain. He wants to know if you are aware that you can be free from the heavy burden of all your sins, if you will only surrender your life to Him. He waits for you everyday to call out to Him. Though He is the Great God of the universe, He waits and watches for you. If you take only a single step in His direction, He will run to meet you. He will place His robes of righteousness upon your sin-stained back. He will give you His name and make you His friend forever. He will lift away all of the guilt, take away the pain, and fill you with more peace than you have ever known in your life. You may have been His enemy thus far, today you can become His friend. He prays for you, as He prayed for His torturers two thousand years ago.
Will you receive Jesus into your heart today and confess with your mouth that you have taken Him as your Lord and Savior? He endured all His suffering, so that you would never experience God’s wrath for your own sins. No one can convince a person that God exists and that He loves them. Only the indivudual person can make that decision. It is not by facts that any person is solely convinced of God’s existence. It is by coming into a knowledge of the Love that He has for every person–even those who do not believe in Him.
No person is convinced of God’s existence by evidence alone–they must be convinced by His Love.
Discover what Jesus suffered, because of His love for you: “The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.”