Jesus on the cross bore the suffering of the world, not just of those who loved him or treated him well or believed in him, but everyone throughout time. As Madeleine L’Engle describes in her book Glimpses of Grace:
For Jesus, at-one-ment was not being at one only with the glory of the stars, or the first daffodil in the spring, or a baby’s laugh. He was also at-one with all the pain and suffering that ever was, is, or will be. On the cross Jesus was at-one with the young boy with cancer, the young mother hemorrhaging, the raped girl. And perhaps the most terrible anguish came from being at-one with the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, the death chambers at Belsen, the horrors of radiation in the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It came from being at-one with the megalomania of the terrorist, the coldness of heart of “good” people, or even the callous arrogance of the two men in criminal court.
We can withdraw, even in our prayers, from the intensity of suffering. Jesus, on the cross, experienced it all. When I touch the small cross I wear, that, then, is the meaning of the symbol.
For you and for all. Imagine that kind of love embracing you….and your enemy….and the person you think least deserving. Everyone. God so loved the world.