Matthew 6:12 “Forgive us our sins . . .”
Within the Lord’s Prayer, we have moved into part seven of ten. And as we move away from part six, “Give us this day, our daily bread”, and travel into part seven, “Forgive us our sins …” it just seems fitting that we do so by first stopping dead in our tracks, calming our souls and listening with careful and focused intent. We should be so quiet that only the pounding of our pulse within our chests are the sounds to be reckoned within the stillness of that moment. Only then can one begin to hear the wrenching and agonizing words that help us bridge the chasm that exists between the words “bread” and “forgive” within this prayer. Those three words being cried out within the darkness of a mid day crucifixion are, “It is finished.”
“It is finished.” Three words that were the last utterance of our Savior as he voluntarily gave up his spirit on a Roman Cross. Three words that were uttered after undergoing the most excruciating of floggings. Three words that came at the end of prolonged suffering in being nailed to a cross. Three words that ended the bitter agony of suffocation that only Roman soldiers knew all to well how to administer with utmost cruelty.
Three words that signaled for the first time in all of human history the wrath of God towards our sin was once and for all satisfied and paid for. With these words, the transition from “Give us this day, our daily bread” to “Forgive us our sins” became a reality. As these three words were being uttered upon the cross, the veil in the temple was being torn in two from top to bottom. It was finished.
Yet one should stop and think for a moment, it is one thing to ask God for “daily bread” to satisfy ones hunger. It is entirely a whole another matter to ask God for the “forgiveness” needed to satisfy the wrath of God that our sins deserve. And which costs God more? Which is the more costly of requests? Bread or forgiveness?
Even Satan knew that Jesus could just speak the words and stones could become bread. That would have been a simple miracle to undertake should Jesus have taken the bait. A miracle that would have cost Jesus almost nothing in the completion.
But forgiveness? Jesus knew how great would be the cost in bringing that about. Just the thought of how much it would cost him personally, caused great drops of blood and sweat in asking his Father to look for another way to pay the debt for mankind’s sin. Yet another option did not exist and they both knew it.
Allowing the phrase, “Forgive us our sins” to become a reality, was simply going to be a lot more involved, complicated and costly of an operation than turning stones into bread. An operation that would cost nothing less than the death of God’s own Son upon a Roman Cross. There is really not a proper comparison between the two. The cost differential of bread versus forgiveness is simply cosmic in scale.
Think about that difference in cost for a quiet and extended moment as you come in prayer before your Heavenly Father. Pour out your heart in thankfulness for all he has done for you this day. Thank him for the “daily bread” he has been so faithful to provide. Thank him for the “forgiveness” he is so faithful to cover you with when asked for. Then let your mind ponder the words of Jesus who railed back at Satan, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
And now, think about the words that came from God’s mouth that gave you life today. What are the words of God that you hang on to help you through the stress and stain of daily living? What words from God’s mouth seem almost more precious to you than “daily bread” itself?
Might I suggest some of the most precious are, “It is finished.” “Daily bread” might help you live for a few days. “Forgiveness” allows for you to live for all eternity. And “forgiveness” is made possible by three agonizing words of Jesus Christ our Savior upon the cross, “It is finished.” Think of it as you come to him today in prayer.
D. Mike Collins
Habakkuk 2:4 “The Just shall live by faith.”