Monday, 5 January 2015

Know not what they are doing

When on the cross, Jesus makes a very bold and startling prayer: Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing!  This morning as I sat for meditation and looked up the cross this is what came to my mind.  Perhaps it is also because last night I came across a clip from the movie Ben Hur (the climax scene) where Ben Hur is touched by this statement of Jesus.

So I was wondering whom is Jesus referring to, when he says ´them´?  Certainly not the Roman soldiers, because he knew very well that they were only carrying out orders given to them.  If Jesus were to be accusing them of murder and praying for their forgiveness, it would be like holding a grudge against the hangman in a prison.

But if Jesus was referring to the Jews who were baying for his blood, then I think he got it wrong. They certainly did know what they were doing.  They had all along schemed and manipulated facts to consciously get rid of him.  So it is neither the Romans nor the Jews who come under the category of ´do not know´. Who then is Jesus referring to? 


  1. He was referring to all of them, I think. They each were responsible for their own actions to whatever extent they were conscious. And Jesus said they did not know, because they were not really and truly conscious of who he was and who they were themselves. Therefore, he asked for them to be pardoned.

    Judas, on the other hand, was conscious but chose differently. And Jesus knew his burden of guilt would be very heavy because of that. The thief becomes conscious at the end in Jesus' presence and in that moment, escapes the penalty of unconsciousness.

  2. No doubt the Pharisees were actively trying to kill him but without the consciousness of what he symbolised and what he was trying to bring to them. Their understanding of him was limited by their superficial beliefs and fears.

  3. And 'them' would include us. We are like the tenants who kept rejecting the landowner- the Jews just happened to be the ones who killed Jesus.

    And if we are not rejecting him outright, then we are like the different soils- a little bit here and a little bit there. Trying with what we have, failing sometimes and growing a bit sometimes. So jesus tells mister god to not hold it against us. We didn't mean to be such miserable specimens, we just didn't understand the whole picture.


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