Seven Sayings: Forgive Them

We started a series this past Sunday on the seven last sayings from Jesus from the cross. I have preached these sayings as a sermon. However, we are looking at one saying each Sunday leading up to Easter. I pray these upcoming short summaries from the sermon will encourage your faith each week.

Luke 23:33-34

33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.

34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

The Setting – The Cross

  • The violent, vicarious, but voluntary death of Christ.  Crucifixion was a Roman tactic for intense and prolonged torment to demonstrate their power over anyone who would stand against them.  Death was our price to pay for sin.  Christ paid our sin debt with His own life.  He did not owe on the debt, but we could not pay it.  Jesus gave his life for us freely.    We did not take it away from Him.  Instead, he died for us because of His love for the Father and us.  
  • Matthew 20:28, “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

The Saying – Father, Forgive them; for they know not what they do.

  • In this statement, we see the ignorance of the soldiers and Pharisees.  They did not know who Jesus truly was or His purpose.  In 1 Cor. 2:8, Paul wrote, “Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”  
  • Still, the most potent understanding we receive from this statement is Jesus as our mediator.  Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”  Jesus not only took our place in death, He stands before God as our Priest and Advocate.  He asks for our forgiveness by the Father.  
  • Jesus is also our example of forgiveness.   Jesus taught in Matthew 5:43-44, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”  There is no better example found in Scripture of loving, blessing, and praying, for those who do us wrong then Jesus praying for the one crucifying Him at the same moment.

The Result – The rest is history

  • Jesus died for us, and this first statement really addresses all Jesus’ death accomplished.  Through the death of Christ on the cross we have forgiveness of sins.  By Jesus we receive atonement and the hope of salvation.  God’s love is sufficiently demonstrated to us on the cross.  We can still receive the blessing of forgiveness if we accept Christ by faith.  Second Peter 3:9 reminds us, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”