Towards the end of the gospels we hear a lot about the sufferings of Jesus. The crowning, the scourging, the punches. A lot of us can relate to physical suffering, right? 🙋🏻♀️
But I often wonder if one of the most painful parts of Jesus’ passion wasn’t something exterior but rather, something interior. Don’t get me wrong, Jesus physically suffered more than any other human ever could.
But what about interiorly? Mentally? Emotionally? I think more of us can relate to this kind of suffering. Am I right? 🙋🏻♀️
Jesus was condemned by the people who should have known Him best. The religious leaders. He was betrayed by an apostle and supposed friend. Judas. He was abandoned by those who said they’d give their life for Him. Peter.
These weren’t strangers or mere acquaintances. These were people who He was very close to — who quite literally hung Him out to dry. And for what? Their reputation. Money. Fear. Distrust. Jealousy.
Some of us understand this kind of pain and suffering more than we want to talk about.
I get it, friend. I do.
And no, this isn’t a “but here’s what I do” kind of post. I’m not even going to try and pretend like I’ve somehow figured out a saintly response to betrayal. I’m not there yet. Some days I wonder if I’ll ever get there. 🤔
No, this is a “here’s what Jesus did” kind of post.
In Luke 23:34, Jesus was hanging on the cross alone, in unimaginable agony. People were scoffing below. And what did Jesus do? He prayed, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Like I said, I’m not there yet. 🤦🏻♀️
The key here is that Jesus prayed while in agony. He didn’t wait for the agony to stop before praying for them. He didn’t wait to feel better first. He didn’t pray, “Father make this stop hurting so much so I can forgive them.”
He prayed “Father forgive them” while He was still hurting.
Again, I’m not there yet.
Because here’s the other thing. Jesus didn’t pray, “Father, make them see my side of things, so they know now what they’ve done.”
Many of us have prayed that prayer before, am I right? 🙋🏻♀️
But that’s not praying for them like Jesus did in Luke 23… that’s indirectly praying for ourselves. Because think about it: if they come to see our side, and understand what they have done to us, then in a way, we’ll be redeemed.
But Jesus didn’t pray to be redeemed or acquitted. He simply prayed for the Father to forgive them, to have mercy on them, to be good to them. He wished blessing on them even though they “know not what they do.”
And isn’t that one of the hardest parts? The fact that some people just don’t get it. They truly don’t understand what they’ve done. Some people may actually live their whole lives never really knowing that what they did was wrong.
But to “live like Jesus” means to pray blessings upon them anyway. To pray for them completely independent of our own redemption. To pray that they will be blessed and forgiven, even if they never come to know the truth.
Remember… we aren’t talking about a small beef with some random acquaintance. It’s not “Father forgive my Facebook friend for that rude comment. They know not what they say.”
That’s easy. (Well, some days. 🤦🏻♀️)
No. We’re talking about the worst kind of betrayal by the most beloved people. We’re talking deep, emotional pain. And Jesus prayed in it. Not after it was over. He prayed IN it. Through it.
Again, I’m not there yet.
But I want to be. Someday.
So maybe, for now, it’s just about taking baby steps. Maybe it’s about “reading” the difficult words of Luke 23:34 prayerfully, even if I don’t “feel” them yet.
Maybe it’s just sitting with a crucifix to remind myself I’m not the only one who’s ever experienced this. Someone else understands my pain.
And maybe, just maybe, this isn’t even about me and the person who betrayed me. Maybe it’s about me and Jesus… and what He’s trying to teach me through the heartache. Maybe right now it’s not so much about “getting there” as it is about “being there” with Him in it.
Maybe…. Just maybe…
After all, He is the only way we’ll ever truly “get there.”