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Lenten Devotional, March 19: By David Corban

By David Corban

In His brief time on this Earth, Jesus gave us so many examples by which to live. References to key texts from the Torah like “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” and new commandments as well:  “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” But Jesus taught us not only, or even primarily, through the spoken word. He led a life of immaculate righteousness – from devotion to His parents, to seeking baptism, preaching the Gospel in the face of increasing hostility, and in ultimate fidelity to his mission, by submitting to death on the cross.

One of His greatest lessons for us came from the cross itself. Although He was stripped of His clothing, humiliated, in physical agony, with nails piercing His hands and feet, He did not rage at His accusers. He did not curse those who were executing Him. Rather, He asked God the Father to forgive those who had driven the spikes, who revelled at His demise. Why? Because, He said:  “they don’t know what they are doing.”

I beg to disagree. They knew exactly what they were doing. And yet Jesus asked for them to be forgiven, their acts not to be held against them. He literally prayed for them.

Now, that is a lesson.

As Christians, we stand amazed at the foot of the cross. God Incarnate, God in the flesh, executed painfully because we either put Him there or let Him be put there. And He did not resist. To the contrary, at this awful juncture of His life, what He surely knew to be the last moments of His life, He found the wisdom to forgive. 

How petty this makes me feel. When I think about my little list of hurts and bruises, my little “red book of serious injuries,” it quickly becomes clear how short I have fallen of the glory of God. It is time to put my burden down and to embrace forgiveness – for others, and not least of all, for myself.  

In this Lenten season, I am going to focus on putting my burden down. There is too much beauty and joy to be held in every moment, right down to the last. Praise God.


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