‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.’
‘Remember these things O Jacob, for you, Israel, are my servant. I have made you, you are my servant; Israel, I will not forget you…I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud, and your sins like a mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.’ – Isaiah 44
These Words, spoken by a dying man who was betrayed by his own, cruelly tortured and nailed to a wooden Roman cross, are perhaps the noblest ever uttered. And yet one may ask, did the God and Father of the Messiah hear and heed that final prayer of His faithful servant?
Many of those who were there to witness that event on that day, forty years later also saw the Roman legions besiege the city of Jerusalem, starving its inhabitants, including those born long after the crucifixion and having nothing to do with it. And the Romans brutally slew hundreds of thousands of the Jewish inhabitants and destroyed the city, dismantling and burning the Holy Temple. Those Jews who survived that holocaust were taken into captivity and delivered to Rome as slaves and concubines. And that was only the beginning of woes.
For the next two thousand years the Jewish people have been driven from nation to nation, often enough by those calling themselves Christians, unable to study in Gentile universities or own businesses, exiled and pursued by Inquisitions, Crusades, Pograms, Anti-Semitism in all its forms, up to the Nazi regime and its devastating Holocaust destroying a third of the Jews of Europe. Ironically, it was that Holocaust that led to the regathering of the Jewish people to a reborn State of Israel in 1948, in the promised land.
In returning to the Holy Land, they would return not only to the land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the biblical Prophets, but to the home of Yeshua of Nazareth, whose name cannot be erased from Tiberias or the Sea of Galilee, or from Bethlehem, or from the Mount of Olives or from the city of his ministry, his crucifixion, and his resurrection- Jerusalem.
Here in Jerusalem once again the Jewish people gather for prayer at the remnant of the 1st century Temple of YHVH, the Western Wall. On every moed– the fixed times of YHVH- many of the Jewish people seek the face of G-d, and call out for forgiveness of sin, here in this very city where Yeshua cried out from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Yes, YHVH has answered that prayer, and provided freely in that timeless moment the means of that forgiveness and atonement paid in full on that cross by the Lamb of YHVH, who takes away the sins of the world. And like Joseph who was betrayed by his own brothers the children Israel, at the time of restoration Yeshua ben-Yoseph will call unto his brothers with open arms, “Come unto me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that you sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life… And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God” (Genesis 45).
As it is written, “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn” (Zechariah 12). And,
“ I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means!… Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring! I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable” (Romans 11).