Thursday, May 05, 2011

Father, Forgive, Fools: The Redeemer's Three Foundational Concepts

I suppose I am as grateful for the words of the Lord Jesus as He hung on the cross as any other words He spoke … if that is possible. Review them again. He made seven magnificent statements about reality while He was “hanging there”! Ponder them well and deep. In the Savior’s first statement, while enduring the abject, excruciating horror of initial crucifixion, He summarizes in three thoughts the never-ending drama of mankind’s earth journey. “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do!” (Luke 23:34) Here, on that agonizing cross, in inexpressible pain, enduring a terrible glory, our Lord declares His threefold witness to both the hope and despair of the human condition! To comprehend truth about all that matters on this fallen planet centers in these three concepts … the Father … the Forgiveness … and the Fools! In understanding these three supreme revelations, our answer to the confusion, suffering and sadness of humanity will become clear and clearer! This first cross statement frames His next six declarations as they summarize the heart of the Godhead toward our hopeless condition apart from His initiatives of grace! (1)

Think of it! Study it! Meditate on it! Ponder it! Comprehend it! At the moment of the most surpassing, drastic, unmatchable and nauseous evil act to ever take place on earth … the insane murder of the innocent Lord Who created them and loved them … His first words were those of a prayer. “Father, please forgive, these poor misguided fools!” What would you have said?

The Savior’s first words fully summarize His mission of Messiah Love to a desperate, blind and terminal humanity. These words are foundational to the ultimate authenticity of our theology. They proclaim the character of the Godhead, our Triune God, Who reveals Himself through Jesus as Creator-Redeemer-Perfecter to His sin-flawed, rebellious creation. If you truly learn the Father’s inexhaustible compassion, experience the forgiveness made possible through the Son and embrace the fact that all people are fools apart from loving and yielding to His Spirit … then you are on your way to being liberated from the sin bondage of your crippled and corrupted self. As the Lord Jesus put it, “My truth is the kind of truth that will make you free … fully free to become what I created you to be!” (John 8:31-32, 34-36, HDM) To comprehend the truth behind these three ideas … Father … Forgiveness … Fools … is to begin your recovery from the tragic and continuing deceptions of the Garden of Eden. It is to plug yourself in to the “life support system of truth.” It is to begin your healing from your many explosions, wrecks and breakdowns of traveling life’s rough roads, detours and minefields without God!

I have finally arrived at that glorious period of my life when the synergic energies of Messiah Love are erupting in my heart beyond anything I ever imagined. The Lord Himself created our necessary progression of being a baby, a child, a youth, then a lengthy adult era and, finally, old age. More focused, general terms would be infanthood (two years), childhood (fourteen years), adulthood (fifty years) and elderhood (twenty years). My testimony is that this last period is truly the richest and more thrilling than the ones preceding. The reason is that I am the most experienced and enlightened about “putting” what I am “in Christ.” This means a continuous and higher renewing of purpose and priorities as I exchange my thinking for His Thinking! (Rom. 12:2; Phil. 2:5)

In spite of seeing evil’s enormity and tragic consequences as never before, my confidence is soaring as I see even more brilliantly the Father’s sovereign intentions, meanings and compassions with IMAX clarity! I am praising, adoring and embracing my Lord Christ more than I ever imagined possible! (Psalm 71:14-21) Let me quote my eldest granddaughter as she commented on her first year as the mother of my great-granddaughter! “Until I had Evy Kate I never dreamed so much love could exist on earth!” The true Cross Disciple will experience the same “love reality” when we give Jesus “all of us” and discover increasingly what it means to have “all of Him”!

One of my favorite lines from the great poet Robert Browning summarizes the quest and goal of my fast closing life, “I clasp the lamp of God close to my breast; Its splendor, soon or late, will pierce the gloom.” (2) Oh the thrill of experiencing daily that “His Word … Himself, His Scripture and my cross as His child … really is a lamp unto my feet” as I walk this gap filled earth! (Psalm 119:105, HDM) Yes, Father! Truly “The unfolding of Your words of truth do give light!” (Psalm 119:130) With increasing earnestness I ask that all my thoughts, motives and words be Yours. May I share your healing secrets with others as succinctly as possible so that I can lift up Your significance and splendor! “My mouth is filled with Your praise and with Your glory all day long.” (Psalm 71:8) From the Hebrew and Greek I translate glory as “significance and splendor.”

All this praise is possible because I am seeing and grasping for myself and for the world the Savior’s magnificent philosophy and passion that drove His mind and heart! May His three ultimate deliverance comprehensions be mine – and yours – as well! All of what we are and hope to be is found in those three words as we live out our “earth life”: Father … Forgiveness … Foolishness!

Perhaps you will identify with my prayer: Let me see Your “glory purpose” my Father! Let me drink deep from the “reality well” of Your unsurpassed and unbelievable forgiveness! Let me escape as totally as possible from the “fellowship of fools” who ignore and reject Your majesty. Save me from the foolishness of discounting and neglecting Your Presence while I worship and chase my idols! Let me fervently refuse such waste, trivia and tragedy! Let me always be seeking Your highest purposes my Father! Let me always be forgiving of every other human being. Let me always be grateful that You are redeeming me … a fool You love!

The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good. God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Psalm 53:1-3)

“… But God demonstrates strikingly His Own love toward us in this: while we were yet “sinner fools” Christ died for us!” (Romans 5:8, HDM)

1st Word – Father, Forgive these fools We love.

2nd Word – Today you will be with Me in paradise.

3rd Word – Woman, this is your son. Man this is your mother.

4th Word – My God … why have You forsaken Me.

5th Word – I Thirst.

6th Word – It is Finished.

7th Word – Father, into Thy Hands I commit My Spirit.


1. I used to dismiss the foolishness of others by quoting the Lord with a rather subtle but superior attitude, “They just don’t know what they are doing!” One day the Lord turned on the “truth light” in my own little brain with a fresher and deeper insight into these words. I “heard” Him as follows: “True, H., they don’t know. But remember this … you don’t know what you are doing either when it comes to totally yielding your life to Me and bringing My name maximum glory!” Case closed!

2. From Paracelsus, 1835.