Seven: Father, Forgive Them

Week 1 – Jeff Maness – March 3, 2019

Father, forgive them…” are the first of seven final statements recorded from Jesus on the cross. While they were spoken about and for the very ones who drove the nails into his hands and feet, they are also incredibly profound words that affect our lives today. What can we learn from Jesus’ words of forgiveness on the cross?

Seven: Forgive

Luke 23:26-27, 32-34 26 As they led Jesus away, a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, happened to be coming in from the countryside. The soldiers seized him and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large crowd trailed behind, including many grief-stricken women. 32 Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. 33 When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.

These first of the seven words from the cross seem, from their position in the record, to have been spoken very early in the awful scene, probably while the nails were being driven into the hands and feet. – Pulpit Commentary

How striking is this passage! While they are actually nailing him to the cross, he seems to feel the injury they did to their own souls more than the wounds they gave him; and as it were to forget his own anguish out of a concern for their own salvation. – John Wesley

Jesus, since he was God in the form of man, could have condemned his torturers or destroyed them with his breath. But then what would his sufferings have accomplished? He came to save and not to judge. –

Big Question: What can we learn from Jesus’ words of forgiveness?

1. They are an example to us.

Ephesians 4:31-32 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Romans 5:8 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Matthew 6:14-15 14 If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

2. They are an encouragement to us

Isaiah 53:12 I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

While the blood of the greatest sacrifice started to flow, the greatest of all high priests started to intercede. — J.C. Ryle (Famous Anglican Bishop)

Hebrews 7:23-25 23 There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. 24 But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. 25 Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.

3. They are meant to be experienced by us

Romans 3:22-25a 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.

Matthew 26:26-28 26 As they were eating (the Passover meal), Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, 28 for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many.

1 Corinthians 11:26 26 For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.