The Grace of Golgotha

By Royce Frederick

Jesus was suffering the agony and humiliation of public execution at “a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull” (Matthew 27:33). The religious leaders had labeled Him an enemy of Moses. The civil government, by consenting to the crucifixion, had labeled Him an enemy of Rome. After the nails had been driven through his flesh and He had been raised high above the crowd, Jesus pleaded: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34).

If Jesus of Nazareth had been an impostor, the crucifixion would surely have exposed that fact. The agony of the cross revealed His true character and grace. Instead of retaliating, He appealed to His Father to pardon His murderers. The execution, which His enemies had hoped would end His influence, became the very means by which He draws men unto Himself.

In the early days of His ministry, Jesus had preached a sermon in which He had said, “pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). Through the cross, we can see that those were not empty words. The message He had preached on that mountain in Galilee, He practiced on mount Calvary.

If our Lord could forgive His persecutors in the very midst of His agony, can we be excused for bearing grudges and bitterness over the small abuses which come our way?