Summary: On the cross Jesus takes time to repeatedly pray, "Father forgive them." The crowd and the spiritual leaders and the Romans may not know what they are doing, but Jesus knows and then dies for them.
“Father Forgive Them”
A sermon on Luke 23:34
On the day that Jesus is condemned to death many people would have had many different thoughts about these events.
Take Pilate as an example. He would have gone home at the end of the day and spoken about these events to his wife. After all, during the trial of Jesus, Pilate’s wife had sent a message out to him, "Don't have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him." As Pilate entered his house his wife would have asked how the trial went. Together they would have come to the conclusion that Pilate had allowed the decision making process to be misdirected by the angry crowd. Together they would have concluded that it wasn’t Pilate’s fault. It would have been more dangerous to let Jesus go. After all, why should Pilate get into trouble for the sake of one Jew?
Or what about the thoughts of one of the Pharisees involved in the arrest and condemnation of Jesus. He would have entered his home that evening and his wife would have been able to see that it had been a good day at the office. The Pharisee would have told his wife triumphantly that the Sanhedrin had finally cleansed Jerusalem and Israel from the teachings of the heretic Jesus. Now the crowds will stop following Him and come back to the synagogues where they belong.
In another part of the town an excited teenage youth would have been telling his mother how he had yelled Barabbas’s name much louder then all of his friends. As she listened to what happened a worried frown crossed her face, “Why were you down there? You could have been hurt!” And his father, who was also in the crowd, said, “Don’t worry so much, the boy needs to grow up sometime”.
Of course we don’t know exactly what the people who witnessed Jesus’ last hours were thinking. But we can make some pretty good assumptions. And as we make these assumptions we can also be sure that there were many people involved in the process.
The soldiers who arrested, mocked, whipped and crucified Jesus.
Political leaders like Pilate, Herod and those within their courts.
Spiritual leaders including many Pharisees, Scribes and Priests.
Ordinary people who cried out for his death, and who hurled abuse, and who stood back and watched it all happen.
Each one of these people has a story of their involvement in the crucifixion of Jesus. And if we had a record of all of these stories you can be sure of one thing.
Out of all those who were involved in the process to bring Jesus to the cross few of them felt the need on that day to ask God for forgiveness on account of their actions.
They were just fulfilling the commands of their leaders.
They were just following the crowd.
They were just making decisions so that the law would be upheld.
They were just doing their job.
But is that how it really was?
Let’s read the Scripture.
Very few of those involved in the death of Jesus would have felt that their actions are worthy of punishment. Very few would have felt the need to seek forgiveness.