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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.

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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.

* No longer can He instruct His disciples, for they have forsaken Him and fled.

But one thing He can do, and does — He prays!

Perhaps there are some here tonight that think they have nothing to offer and no purpose in living. Jesus will forgive you!

Our Lord is upon the cross. He prays for His murderers. In doing this, He shows us, He teaches us, that no one is ever beyond the reach of prayer.

He shows us, He teaches us, to never give up, to never abandon hope, to keep on praying. Does it seem to you a waste of time to keep praying for that man, that woman, that wayward child or grandchild of yours?

Does it ever seem to you as if they are beyond the reach of God’s mercy?

Does their case seem to get more and more hopeless every passing day? In such times of discouragement think of the cross. Remember that Christ prayed for His enemies, for those who made Him suffer the agony and torment of the cross.

VII. Jesus prays for His Enemies

Who is the "them" Jesus is praying for? He is praying for Judas who betrayed Him. He is praying for the Jewish leaders who had Him falsely arrested, who hit Him, spit on Him, and said lies about Him. Jesus is praying for the crowd who yelled, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"

Jesus is praying for Pilate who found Him innocent yet still gave Him up to be crucified. Jesus is praying for the soldiers who whipped Him, mocked Him, spit on Him, and nailed Him to the cross. Jesus is praying for all of these: "Father, forgive them..."

Jesus is also praying for you and me and every other sinner. Don’t forget, He is upon the cross as our — as your and my — representative. He is there as one of us, one with us. He is there because of our sins. There is a song we sing which expresses this so very clearly.

Conclusion: The Need for Forgiveness A What is it that Jesus is praying for? This first word of the cross, this prayer for forgiveness, is clearly about sins of ignorance: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

So Jesus prays, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

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