The Word of Forgiveness Luke 23:34
Man had done his worse. The One by whom the world was made had come in it, but the world knew Him not. The Lord of Glory was not wanted. “Crucify Him” was their cry! What was the response of Jesus?
Then said Jesus, ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
This first of the seven saying of Jesus from the cross presents our Lord in the attitude of prayer. His public ministry had opened in prayer, Luke 3:21. Here we see it closing in prayer.
No longer might the hands of Jesus minister to the sick, for they were nailed to the cross. No longer may those feet carry Him on errands of mercy, for they were fastened to the cross. No longer may He instruct the apostles, for they have all fled. How then does Jesus occupy himself? In the ministry of prayer.
He prayed for others, prayed for sinners, even in His last hours, Christ prayed for His enemies. The result — 3000 souls saved. [Acts 3:17] Christ prayed for you and I long before we believed in Him. [John 17:20]
I. Take a look at the fulfillment of the prophetic word.
God made known beforehand of what should happen on that Day of days! [Isa: 53:12] The entire chapter of Isaiah 53 tells us at least 10 things about the humiliation and suffering of the redeemer. He should be:
1. despised & rejected of men
2. man of sorrows & acquainted with grief
3. wounded, bruised & chastised
4. led, unresistingly to the slaughter
5. dumb before his shearers
6. bruised by The Lord
7. pour out his soul unto death
8. buried in a rich mans tomb
9. numbered with the transgressors
10. make intercession for the transgressors
II. Take a look at Jesus identified with his people
Father, forgive them. Never before had He invoked the Father’s forgiveness. Before, He would forgave Himself. Why then did He now ask the Father to forgive?
Forgiveness of sin is a Divine Prerogative. When Jesus cried, “Father, forgive them” He was on the cross, and there He might not exercise His divine prerogative.
Jesus had said, “This Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins.” [Matt. 9:6] But He was no longer on earth: He had been “lifted up from the earth.” [John 12:32]
On the cross Jesus was acting as our substitute. The Just for the unjust. He was no longer in the place of authority. He demonstrates dependence on the Father
III. Take a look at the divine estimate of sin and it’s guilt.
God requires that atonement should be made for sins of ignorance. sin is always sin in the eyes of God whether we are conscious of it or not.
We have no excuse for our ignorance. God has clearly and fully revealed His will. God has spoken and by His Word we shall be judged.
IV. Take a look at the blindness of the human heart
“They know not what they do.” They did know full well that:
they had cried out, ‘Crucify Him’
their vile request had been granted
he had been nailed to the tree
When Jesus said, “They know not what they do,” He meant they were ignorant of the enormity of their crime. Just as the lost person is ignorant to the magnitude of rejecting Jesus. They knew not that it was The Lord of Glory they were crucifying. They they ought to have known.
V. Take a look at a lovely example of his own teaching
Christ practiced what He preached. He forgave others. [Matthew 5:44] In all things He left us an example.
VI. Take a look at man’s great & primary need
The 1st. lesson which all need to learn is that we are all sinners, and as such, are unfit, for the presence of a Holy God.
What will matter most in the hour of our death is, Have my sins been put away by the Blood of Jesus Christ?
The 2nd. lesson is how forgiveness is obtained? By the mercy of God.
VII. Take a look at the triumph of redeeming love.
Then he cries, Father, forgive them, His last earthly acts of love. oh, such a love!!
Until next time,
Source: Arthur W. Pink, Seven Saying from the Cross