Verse of the Day Devotion: Mark 11:25
“Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” – Mark 11:25
This idea is found in various places in the New Testament. We are called to forgive others if we have anything against someone else so that we can be forgiven. Jesus mentioned it also in the Lord’s prayer, where He spoke of asking God to forgive, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:12. He attached our forgiveness to how we forgive. And then a couple verses down He leaves no question of what is intended. “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” Matthew 6:14-15.
The main reason Jesus came here was so He could pay the penalty we incurred because of sin. And the only way this could have been done was to have someone who is without sin pay that penalty. For we read in Romans the following, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23. We all deserve death for we all sinned. However, one who has never sinned came here and paid our debt by dying on our behalf. His love was so great for all of us He suffered through the most terrible and humiliating form of death imaginable, crucifixion. This form of death was designed to cause the most pain possible over the longest period of time. Many people endured this torture for over a week, while being humiliated due to their nakedness. Peter put it this way, “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth, and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:22-24.
So, as we can see, Jesus paid the penalty we could never pay. He did what was necessary by dying for us so that we may be forgiven of our sins. Therefore, this is why we are called to forgive the sins of others. We should love others as He loves us. “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:12-14. And just as we see with Jesus, no one can carry his love for his friend farther than when he gives up his life. In other words, he gives up everything that he has. And forgiveness of wrongs is the greatest gift He gave us, and He commands us to do the same.
And note what our focus verse says. “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” Mark 11:25. It is not just to forgive those who ask, but to forgive anyone of any wrong done to us. And Jesus exhibited this in the greatest way possible when he said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:36. They had not asked for forgiveness, for He was still on the cross. But He asked for His Father to forgive them anyway. And this is the greatest example of what our focus verse says, when you are praying, forgive anyone who has done you wrong.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.