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The 7 Last Sayings of the Cross- “...Forgive Them”

Luke 23:34 “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

I am so excited for Easter this year. As we talked about last week, I am looking into the last 7 sayings of Jesus from the cross. Of course, this is done in Tenebrae Services all over the world at this time of year. I noticed something from Luke 23 that is shocking to me, and likely is to you as well. After all that Jesus had done for the people; after all the healing, all the teaching, all the miracles He performed...the nation of Israel still wanted Him dead. Does this shock you? I suppose there were those that didn’t think He was actually the Son of God. Others didn’t believe He was the Messiah that the Old Testament prophets had spoken of. And of course, Jesus didn’t throw the Romans out of Jerusalem, and return rule of themselves to the Jewish people. Jesus spoke to Pilate, the Roman Governor, and told him that His Kingdom was not of this world. And this is the reason Jesus didn’t incite a riot and a coup.


But here He is on the Cross of punishment, humility, suffering and death. But to Jesus, this was a Cross of salvation and forgiveness. So when the people are shouting at Him, spitting, hurling insults at Him, and basically taunting Him...Jesus does something spectacular. He doesn’t defend Himself, and He doesn’t ignore them either. The Bible says He looked at them and loved them. And from this place of love, Jesus says, “Father, forgive them...” And if that wasn’t enough, Jesus tells the Father why He wants to forgive the people. “They don’t know what they are doing”. I’m sure they didn’t. I was thinking about this, and wondered to myself if we even today, return Jesus to the Cross all over again. When we accept His forgiveness, we are promising to put Him first. To love Him, serve Him, honor Him, and like Him. Each day, I ask myself how I did with this the day before. And to be honest, sometimes I haven’t been very good with any of those things. So this week, I want to challenge us to remember why Jesus asked His Father to forgive us. There will be many days I don’t know what I’m doing, or even why. But I want to know. The Apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:10 (NCB) “I want to know Christ and the power that raised him from the dead. I want to share in his sufferings and become like him in his death.”  Looking back at Jesus’ forgiveness and the salvation that comes with it, I understand what Paul is saying. If we “die” to self, we will achieve what Paul is talking about. Because the forgiveness that Jesus gave us also breaks the power of sin and self over our lives. We are raised a new creature in Christ, one without blemish or blame. That is the identifying with Jesus that Paul is teaching us. And the result is pretty good. Amen?

Love and prayers,