Summary: Shorter sermon delivered during a special evening Lords Supper service
Luke 23: 33-34 (NIV) 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals--one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
I. Fulfillment of prophecy: Isa 53: 11-12 (NIV)
11 After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Jesus’ prayer of intercession for the transgressors:
Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing:
II. Ignorance of the Human Heart:
The Roman Soldiers who crucified -did not know he was the Creator
The Jewish people and the Jewish Religious leaders did not believe He was Messiah
They had all the evidence needed, but they didn’t believe it
They had hundreds of OT prophecies fulfilled by Jesus
Many had seen him perform incredible miracles in person
Many had heard the gospel of Christ directly from his mouth
“I am the resurrection and the Life”
But they didn’t believe it
The forgiveness that Jesus prayed for is available, but only to those that accept it.
Forgiveness from God is not only possible, but he wants you to have it, He longs for you to have it, but it is only given to those that belong to His son Jesus Christ
And I believe that what Jesus was praying for was that his tormentors would come to know the truth about Him. That they would hear the gospel with the ear of faith and come to a saving knowledge about Jesus Christ the Messiah.
III. This shows us the incredible love that Jesus has for sinners:
Think about who he is praying for, and what they have done to him:
Jewish leaders, who mocked him, beat him, spit on him, pulled out his beard
Roman soldiers who scourged him-tearing at his flesh over and over and over again
Crowd that cried out for his blood – CRUCIFY HIM, CRUICIFY HIM
Pilate, who washed his hands, trying to escape his responsibility as he hands Jesus, an innocent man, over to be crucified
Those men who drove the nails into his hands and feet and lifted him up
Those who mocked him and hurled insults at him as he hung on the cross.
Soldier who pierced his side with the spear.
You and for me, because it is our sin that put him on that cross.
Its US – We drove the nails, We spit on the face of Christ, We put him on that cross
But as Jesus hangs on the cross, dying in agony
He doesn’t cry out in pain He doesn’t ask for pity
He doesn’t curse his enemies or ask for rescue
He prays, though he has the power to forgive, He prays to God the Father, in his greatest hour of sorrow, agony, and pain. He sets the example for us as he prays to His father in Heaven.
He prays for his enemies, he prays for US, what love the Savior has for us sinners.
IV. And what he prays for shows us our greatest need.
With time very short as he hangs on the cross, Jesus prays for us
And what does he pray for?
Does he pray for our wealth, health, properity of nation, hungry,homeless?
No, He prays for our forgiveness.
Because none of that other stuff matters if you don’t have forgiveness.
He prayed for their forgiveness, he prayed for our forgiveness
Do you think the prayer of Jesus was heard, do you think it was answered?
soldier said who pierced with the spear?“Surely this is the Son of God”
Remember what happened at Pentecost? Do you think any of the people in that crowd were in the crowd before Pilate?
What about the Jewish religious leaders?
Acts 6: 7 (NIV) 7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
Read the whole book of Acts – the prayer of Jesus was answered again and again
Think of your own salvation experience. When you came to Jesus, God the father was answering his prayer about you.
When Christ shared the last supper with his disciples, he was teaching us as well
The last supper was an intimate time of fellowship with Jesus for the disciples
And the lords supper for us is also a time of intimate fellowship with Jesus