HATRED AND STUPIDITY
"And the rulers also scoffed at Him, saying, He saved others; let Him save Himself, if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen." "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!" Luke 23:35, 37
Hate makes people stupid. What I hear in the scoffing mockery of these rulers is their test of Messiahship. What was their test? What did they say? If He is really the Messiah, if He is really the Chosen of God let Him save Himself. It did not enter into their minds for a moment that the meaning of Messiahship was the not saving of Himself, but the saving of others. Their whole conception of Messiahship had become blunted, "materialized”, blasted; and when they saw Him on the Cross they said: That ends it, He is not the Messiah, or He would never be there; He would save Himself. But still He hung there and so right before their eyes was the supreme evidence of Messiahship. The thing they said was true. He saved others, Himself, He could not save. That is Messiahship. He could not save Himself. Why not? Because He would save others. He can save others. Why. Because He would not save Himself.
And in vs. 37 we hear their true test of a King, the ability to take care of Himself. They did not understand that the true function of a king is to take care of his kingdom, and all those who are members of it. These were the statements of the soldiers. They had never witnessed an emporer who had no power to take care of Himself. If a Roman Caesar failed to take care of himself they had no use for him. Their qualification of the king was his ability to break men, and rule over them, and subdue them. Hatred reasons poorly and true understanding is missing entirely.
But Jesus was saying, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." That was His evaluation of the thoughts and reasons of sinners who hate and for the wrong reasons. Luke 23:34
This was the highest word of the perfect humanity of our Lord, and therefore it was a perfect revelation of the heart of God. And how wonderful it is. The plea was not that willful sin should be excused. Such a plea our Master never urged. The men who nailed Him to His Cross were ignorant. They had no understanding of what they were doing. Therefore He thus prayed for them. In that plea we see the operation of the Divine justice, which is eternally reasonable. The judgments of God are always based upon His perfect knowledge, not of actions alone, but of the motives that prompt them. Yet the very motives, while the result of ignorance, may be utterly unworthy and need the forgiveness of God. For this the crucified Lord has the right to ask, because in the deepest fact of His Cross He was there by that determinate counsel which was set upon the redemption of man at uttermost cost. Thus in the very prayer, as in the fact of the Cross, the elements of justice and mercy are seen acting in perfect harmony. That the prayer was answered there can be no question. Those men, in ignorance expressing the worst of sin, were forgiven by virtue of the mystery of the pain which He bore, that pain so much deeper than the physical suffering which they inflicted upon Him. All sins of ignorance are forgiven. It is only the sin against light, which has no forgiveness.
America and this world is full of people who think and reason from strong wrong motives with no understanding, following a Liar, who need the forgiveness of God and the answer to His prayer in vs. 34.
Only one said "save me" - Luke 23:42