Summary: This sermon is about how far God wants us to go in forgiving those who hurt us.
Forgiveness Part 2
This morning we are going to follow up my sermon from 2 weeks ago on the subject of forgiveness.
Jesus said a lot of extraordinary things in His 3 years of public ministry.
This morning we are going to discuss one of those extraordinary statements.
We’re going to look at His prayer of forgiveness from the Cross.
There are an abundance of opportunities for forgiveness with people.
So understanding Jesus’ teaching on the subject of forgiveness is very important.
Our text this morning is: Luke 23:32-34
Two weeks ago we studied the text where Jesus told Peter to forgive not 7 times but 70x7 and we learned about making the decision to be forgiving.
But the question to ask once we’ve recognized that God wants us to be forgiving and bear with people is:
I. Just How Far Do We Go In Forgiving People?
There is a tremendous lesson to be learned from the events of the cross.
Vs. 34 Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
From the cross Jesus prayed for those who were responsible for His crucifixion.
It seems like a very odd thing to do.
It’s certainly an unnatural thing unless you take the context of Jesus’ life into consideration and understand that Jesus was living what He had taught the disciples and the multitudes throughout His ministry.
He had taught forgiveness and on the cross He was living out the principles of His teaching.
So just how far do we go in forgiving people?
The answer is we have to be so forgiving that we are willing to ask God to relieve them from the eternal consequences of what they have done to us.
Will He do that?
I don’t know the answer to that but what I will say about this point is that we are not in charge of His relationship to those that hurt us.
We are only responsible for our relationship with them.
One of the things that we learn from this account of Jesus’ crucifixion is that we are in control of how we relate to those who hurt us and do us harm.
It is within our control to forgive with life changing forgiveness which is what Jesus’ prayer on the cross teaches us.
That kind of forgiveness is life changing.
Did Jesus’ enemies and those that physically crucified deserve compassion.
It’s really not about whether they deserved it or not.
Many of the people that we forgive may not deserve our forgiveness.
In fact no one in these circumstances really deserved Jesus’ forgiveness, the members of the Jewish Sanhedrin didn’t deserve it, the Romans really didn’t deserve it (Because they were willing parties to the crucifixion of an innocent man),
For that matter in vs. 42 the thief reached out to Jesus and said this
42Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.
Did the thief deserve forgiveness at this late time in his life?
He was at his own admission deserving of the punishment that he was receiving, convicted as a criminal and sentenced to death.
And in response to his request Jesus says indeed today you will be with me in paradise.
Did he deserve forgiveness?
He probably didn’t.
But forgiveness in and of itself is not about whether a person deserves it or not.
We have to value forgiveness more than being right.
We have to value our relationships with people more than our desire for them to change or admit their failures.
Can you do it?
Will it make a difference in our lives and relationships?
It absolutely will!