Summary: This sermon looks at the words: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." It is a - 1. Prayer of RELATIONSHIP 2. Prayer of FORGIVENESS 3. Prayer of IDENTITY 4. Prayer of UNAWARENESS 5. Prayer of COMPLETENESS

Father Forgive

Today we begin a new series. I want us to spend the next seven weeks examining each of the seven sayings of Christ upon the cross. The series will take us up to Easter Sunday and the resurrection. Three of these sayings we will look at were addressed to God the Father. Four of the sayings were addressed to people. Our text for this morning is found in the Gospel of Luke:

When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was saying, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. Luke 23:33-34 (NASB)

A woman sat in a pastor's office and said, “I think I’m going to kill myself.” The pastor asked, “Why?” She said, “I don’t have any reason to live anymore.” She told the pastor how all of her friends had deserted her. How she couldn’t get a job. How she didn’t have any money. How everything that she valued in the world was gone. She even talked about her children—how they had deserted her too. She said, “Pastor, when I told my oldest son that I was thinking about killing myself, he said, 'Mom, why don’t you just go ahead and do it. No one really cares about you anyway. If you would go ahead and do it - that's one less thing I would have to worry about.’”

How do you forgive in a situation like that?

A man called his pastor on the phone and said, “Pastor, could I come see you?” As they sat together the story was told. He said, “My wife left me for another man a few years ago. It hurt like crazy. But after a while she got tired of him, so she decided to come back to me. I thought it was the right thing to do - so I let her come back. Everything seemed fine for a few months but then she left me again for the same man. She stayed with him for a while but then she came back a second time and I thought everything was going to be fine. But then she left me again after a few months ago. Every time she leaves it hurts me deeply - like I'm being stabbed in the chest with a butcher knife. She’s been with him for a while now. But she just called me up this morning and she said, 'I want to come back.' Pastor, I’m not sure I want her back. I don't want to go through that again. I can forgive somebody once or even twice but I’m not sure I can forgive her a third time.”

How do you forgive in a situation like that?

How do you forgive?

In our text today we find these words:

.... there they crucified Him.......

There is no great detail, just a simple statement - there they crucified him. We cannot begin to imagine the agony that Jesus endured while upon the cross. But we all know the story - don't we? The physical suffering would have been horrifying.

By the time he got to the cross he had been beaten within an inch of his life. His back had been torn to shreds by the whip. His face was disfigured and swollen where they had ripped out the beard by the roots. On his head a crown of thorns stuck under the skin. He was a shell of a man.

.... there they crucified Him.......

They laid the cross out on the ground and they laid the body of Jesus on it. He moved - he moaned - he didn’t do much. They pierced his hands and his feet by driving spikes through them all. New wounds - new blood - new pain.

.... there they crucified Him.......

What happened that day was horrendous. What happened that day was horrible. What happened that day was hideous. Yet Jesus said:

"Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:34a (NASB)

Folks - that leads me back to the original question: How do you forgive in a situation like that? Here is what Jesus does. He prays.

His prayer is short. His prayer is to the point:

"Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing."

Let's examine the prayer of Jesus this morning:

It is a:


Then Jesus said:


What a powerful word this is coming from the lips of Jesus. It is the first word that was spoken by him as he hung on the cross. "Father." It is a word of relationship - beyond any other relationship. No one used this term like Jesus used this term. God the Father has an extremely intimate relationship with God the Son.

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Randy Tipton

commented on Mar 19, 2016

Absolutely a wonderful sermon. May God bless you sir.

Tom Shepard

commented on Mar 19, 2016

Thank you for your comment. Blessings.

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