Summary: While on the cross, Jesus made seven utterances or statements. My task and purpose today is to preach on the fires of just one of those statements. " Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. Some insert are credited to A. W. Pink’s.
“FATHER FORGIVE THEM, FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO”
Some insert are credited to A. W. Pink’s
Intro: The crucifixion procession arrived at Calvary a little before nine o’clock on Friday morning. The two thieves were fastened to their crosses and raised into place. Next the Roman soldiers fastened JESUS into his cross by driving sharp nails through his hands and feet. Then they raised the cross with JESUS on it to an upright position. Their JESUS hung, on the center cross, between two criminals.
Underneath the cross-gathered crowds of people who shouted out their hated at him, who himself never did anyone of them any harm. He did nothing but show them love, peace and kindness.
When we come to the cross and the crucifixion of Christ, we find that His death was just as much a miracle as His birth or resurrection.
It could truly be said of His death, that it was Natural, Unnatural, and Supernatural.
It was Natural because He really died. His death was a natural one.
It was Unnatural in that He should not have died. The wagers of sin are death. He had no sin, yet He died. It was unnatural that He who was perfectly holy should die.
It was also Supernatural in that He laid down His life. No one took it from Him.
While on the cross, Jesus made seven utterances or statements. My task and purpose today is to preach on the fires of just one of those statements.
" Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.
I. THIS CRY WAS A FULFILLMENT OF PROPHECY
The cry is, "Father forgive them..." The prophecy is found in Isaiah 53:12
Isaiah 53:12 “ . . . and made intercession for the transgressors." Here it is in the wonderful prophecies of Isaiah! Hear we have a prophecy written 745 years before the event!
II. THIS CRY IDENTIFIED HIM WITH HIS PEOPLE
Jesus never called on His father to forgive sins. He himself demonstrated he had power, while on earth, to forgive sins.
· Luke 7:48 "And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven." Only God can forgive sins and the Jewish leaders knew that.
· Mark 2:7 "Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?"
III. THIS CRY SHOW THE IGNORANCE OF THE HUMAN HEART
Jesus was their Messiah. He was their only means of salvation. Only through Him would and could the promises of God be fulfilled. But they knew not what they were doing.
· Peter says in Acts 3:15: "And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses."
IV. THIS CRY SHOWS MAN’S GREATEST NEED
Notice what Jesus prayed for.
He did not pray for their wealth.
He did not pray for prosperity for the nation.
He did not pray for the hungry and the homeless.
Jesus prayed for their forgiveness.
The prodigal knew that he had sinned against the father and knew that his greatest need was confession and forgiveness.
He said, "I have sinned..." He needed forgiveness most of all. Jesus knows man’s greatest need.
V. THIS CRY SHOWS THE GREAT LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST FOR SINNERS
What would we do in the hour of man’s worst treatment of us? Would we pray for their forgiveness or would we curse them and ask God to destroy them?
This brings us to the sober reality of His deity. Only God could love like this.
John 15:13 "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
· Samson in his dying hour destroyed his enemies. Christ in His dying hour prayed for his.
Stephen, the first martyr of the Christian faith, failed to fully follow Christ’s example.
· Stephen’s first thought was of himself, and then he prayed for those killing him. While his enemies were stoning him,
Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them" (Acts 7:59,60).
But with Christ the order was reversed: He prayed first for His enemies, and then for Himself.
VI. Our Lord is upon the cross. And there He hangs — silent.
But then His pain-lined lips are seen to move.
Is He crying out in pain? No.
Is He asking for pity? No.
Is He pronouncing a curse upon those who crucified Him? No.
What then? He is praying — for His enemies! "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
Our Lord is upon the cross.
* No longer can His hands minister to the sick, for they are nailed to the tree.
* No longer can His feet carry Him on errands of mercy, for they are fastened to the wood.