Summary: Christ’s prayer for His enemies while hanging on the cross - peculiar, perceptive, pardoning and personal.
A fathers day message
Famous last words - Luke 23:34
"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do".
1. A PECULIAR PRAYER
"Father". Why did Christ ask His heavenly Father to forgive those who had brought about His death? During His public ministry the Saviour had forgiven a number of people. Why did He not do so from the cross? We suggest three reasons. One, that the scriptures might be fulfilled - "he...made intercession for the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12). Two, He wanted to make a deep impression upon those standing round the cross. Those within earshot must surely have been moved by the gracious prayer of Christ for those who were treating Him so cruelly. Three, the Father wanted everyone to see the power of Christ’s prayers. 3000 souls were saved at Pentecost because of it. "He ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25).
2. A PARDONING PRAYER
If our greatest need had been information,
God would have sent us an educator;
If our greatest need had been technology,
God would have sent us a scientist;
If our greatest need had been money,
God would have sent us an economist;
If our greatest need had been pleasure,
God would have sent us an entertainer;
But our greatest need was forgiveness,
So God sent us a Saviour.
Man’s greatest need is not forgiveness from his fellow man but forgiveness from God. It is freely offered through Christ’s atoning blood.
3. A PERCEPTIVE PRAYER
"They know not what they do".
We think of Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 1:13 - "I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief".
4. A PERSONAL PRAYER
When He was on the cross, I was on His mind.