There are many reasons for admiring Jesus. You likely—for very personal reasons—have a reason for admiring Jesus that touches your heart. For me, that “personal reason” has to be his enormous compassion. For us “flawed humans,” we begin with committed “good intentions” of being compassionate. However, we usually “draw the line” and “throw up our hands” in the surrender of total disgust when the focus of our compassion does something incredibly stupid. When the focus of our compassion causes us pain through his/her ignorant act, we feel thoroughly justified is distancing ourselves from this incredibly stupid person.

“Can you believe he/she did that? If anyone deserved the struggles he/she endures daily, he/she is that person! Whatever he/she endures, he/she brought it on himself/herself!”

After the mockery of the trials, after a sham “conviction” that sought perjured testimony, after the beating, after the crown of thorns, after the ridicule, after the humiliation of attempting to carry the cross, after the pain of being nailed to the cross, after the agony of being suspended by means of the cross, after experiencing the screaming pain of execution, Jesus made this statement (recorded in Luke 23:34):

“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

I wonder how many times when I do something really stupid and thoughtless, that Jesus as my mediator before God, makes the same request for me. I wonder how often when in “good intentioned” ignorance, I am an obstacle rather than a help to God’s purposes, and Jesus asks for my forgiveness.

It has been said that the purpose of a good education is to reveal to us the realities of our ignorance. May I suggest that one of life’s purposes is to reveal to us our incredible ignorance? It is only when we see our ignorance that we know we need a Savior.

Wisdom is not the result of how much we know, but the result of being honest with self and others about how much we do not know. No one is as much the victim of ignorance as the person who is convinced he/she knows everything about anything.

The objective of Christianity is NOT to make us dogmatic, but compassionate. No one was ever in a situation to justly allow people to bear the consequences of their own ignorance as was Jesus in his crucifixion. Yet, in full knowledge of what God was doing, Jesus asked for forgiveness of those who rejected him in the bravado of their genuine ignorance.

Thank you, Jesus, for coming to this earth. Thank you for showing us compassion when we deserved (and continue to deserve) justice. Though we continue causing you pain, you show us love. May you never stop being our example of compassion’s meaning!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 14 December 2006

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