Jesus faced the brutal cruelty of his crucifixion as a victor. His response to the state and religious leaders, who had connived to execute Him, was His radical prayer, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do” (Luke 24:32). Despite harming Jesus’ body, the perpetrators could not touch the moral make up of His soul. In the face of hatred, Jesus did not seek revenge, but demonstrated love.
All too often, victims mimic the behaviour of oppressors. As a result of unceasingly focusing on their enemies, victims run the risk of becoming mirror images of the very people they hate. Therefore, when liberated, victims can easily slip into the temptation to behave like perpetrators. And when this happens, the cycle of revenge continues unabated.
Jesus, however, did not act like His oppressors. He practiced forgiveness, empowering Himself and disempowering the oppressors. Even in His suffering, Jesus was practicing the values of the kingdom of God which he had preached. Jesus did not allow the oppressors to determine the terms of this narrative ridden by social conflict. Many years later, Vengal Chakkarai (1880-1958) of Tamil Nadu became a dedicated follower of Christ by meditating on the words Jesus uttered on the cross.
Jesus gave himself as a sacrifice for the wages of our sins. Therefore, we do not have to live fearful, stressed lives, falling apart under the burden of our sin. Salvation is a free gift of God in Christ Jesus. We cannot earn it, nor do we deserve it, but God in His gracious love comes down to our human level, takes us by our hand and raise us up to Himself.
Jesus, willingly, died for our sins and on the third day He bodily rose again from the dead. He overcame, sin, death and Satan, and so can we, when we trust in Him. Happy Easter!