A vengeful Father angrily told of his son being shot and killed. The boy’s 12 year old cousin took a 12-gauge shotgun and pulled the trigger. Some say it was an accident. The father thinks otherwise. Listen to the father’s emotion: “I am so angry over all this that I can’t even think straight. All I want is revenge. This kid will not be able to walk the streets without wondering what I might do to him. I want no love … I want total hatred [and] not an ounce of forgiveness. Ever!” [his words may be read on the Internet]. Listen to the dad’s poem [edited]. Grasp his anger and hatred of the murderer.
A Father’s Revenge
I have a living hatred for you,
it’s an anger that burns deep inside.
Do you know that I’ve cried me that river?
And then again, I’ve cried and cried.
“I don’t care what the judge and jury said,
your judgment day will surely come,
maybe you need to sleep with one eye open,
and keep looking over your shoulder, old chum.
“I’m so angry and so mad,
I just can’t think straight anymore,
and I’ll never again rest easy,
until I’ve evened up the score.
“Don’t ask me for my forgiveness,
because you’ve turned my heart to stone,
I’ve never felt so desperate,
I’ve never felt so utterly alone.
Now, think of the murderers of God’s only begotten Son on the day of Pentecost. Place yourself in their shoes as you recall what you just read of the earthly father’s hatred. Peter charges the Jews on Pentecost with murder,
Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God unto you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, even as ye yourselves know; him, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay (Acts 2:22-23 ASV).
Will the Father of all the earth feel and respond as the earthly father? If He does, we are all doomed. If you were in the audience as Peter levels the ugly charge of cruelly killing the only begotten Son of God, would you tremble? You would unless you were deaf, hard-hearted, or a moron.
Before we proceed, we must understand that God cannot be killed. God is not dead! Whoa! Wait! Sounds like a contradiction. No. When the Jews murdered Jesus, God allowed them to stress His flesh to the point of the spirit leaving the body (Jas. 2:26; Luke 23:46). This is death, as all on this earth shall experience it. However, He ever lives in the spirit, never to die (1 Pet. 3:18). Though the body was destructible, the Lord’s spirit is immortal (1 Tim. 6:16). God prepared a body for Him that He might be the sacrifice for sin (Heb. 10:5-6).
Devout Jews gathered on the day of Pentecost two thousand years ago in the city of Jerusalem and heard Peter charge them with the crime of murder (Acts 2). Though these people were highly religious, they were lost, not only for their crime of slaying God’s dear Son but also for a host of transgressions of passion and neglect.
But Peter preached a message of hope. Prophecy, the empty tomb (Acts 2:29), the eyewitnesses (Acts 2:32), and the coming of the Spirit (Acts 2:33) proved that Jesus is the risen Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36; Heb. 5:8-9). Instead of pronouncing immediate justice upon the killers, God held out His hand of mercy.
Since the gospel which Peter preached by the Holy Spirit is “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16), and since the Holy Spirit convicts sinners of their guilt only through the Word (Acts 2:4, 37; John 3:5; 1 Pet. 1:22-23), they had nowhere else to turn. The convicted asked, “What shall we do?” They received Heaven’s answer. Forgiveness is possible, but only through the blood of the Righteous One. Ironic isn’t it? The death that contributed to the loss of their souls is the very blood that paid the ransom for the sin of their souls (1 Pet. 1:18-19; John 1:29).
Though forgiveness is possible only through the blood of the Lord, it is not through the blood only. Obedience is enjoined upon all (Acts 2:21, 38; Luke 13:3; Mark 16:16). Peter was specific with his words in commanding them.
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do? And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:37-38 ASV).
Just as the command to repent is from God, so is “be baptized.”
We opened our thoughts with the poem of a father’s revenge. Let us close with a psalm of heaven’s promised forgiveness.
If thou, Jehovah, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, That thou mayest be feared. I wait for Jehovah, my soul doth wait, And in his word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord More than watchmen wait for the morning; Yea, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in Jehovah; For with Jehovah there is lovingkindness, And with him is plenteous redemption (Psa. 130:3-7 ASV).
What a contrast! On the one side we have a vengeance-filled father, looking for ways to take the life of the youngster who killed his dear son. While on the other hand, “…God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16 ASV). In this manner, God forgave the murderers. In the same manner, He forgives us, and will forgive all men.