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Something He'd Never Seen Before?

Greg Laurie

Can you think of someone right now whom you cannot imagine ever being a follower of Jesus Christ? I would challenge you to start praying for that person by name. No one is beyond the reach of God's hand. Jesus prayed for the very people who crucified Him. Can you pray for someone who has wronged you?

In one Gospel account, we read that both criminals being crucified with Jesus joined in the mockery from the onlookers. The King James Version calls them thieves, but the word that was used to describe the kind of criminals they were is far more severe. These men probably were insurrectionists or murderers, engaged in trying to overthrow Rome. That is why they were being dealt with in such a harsh way. The Romans wanted to make an example out of anyone who dared to defy their power.

These two hardened criminals had heard it all, seen it all, and probably had done it all. But then Jesus made His first statement from the cross: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do" (Luke 23:34). And right there on the spot, one of those hardened criminals believed. He had never seen anything like this before. Think of all that he had been exposed to during his life that brought him to the place where he was now, where he was dying for his sins and crimes. Yet to hear someone who had been treated even worse than him, who had been whipped and scourged and beaten—in addition to being crucified—actually pray for His enemies caused this man to believe. He turned to Jesus and said, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom" (Luke 23:42).

No one is beyond the reach of prayer. Who needs your prayers today?

Taken from ""Father, Forgive Them. . . ."" by Harvest Ministries (used by permission).

Originally published October 15, 2010.