Summary: Put together for Holy Week noon dinner on Wednesday. We are to forgive because He first forgave us.

Title: Forgive Them Even Though They Know What They Do.

Date: 4/12/17

Place: Holy Week Service

Text: Luke 23.34

CT: We are to forgive because he first forgave us.

FAS: Jesus went to the cross to make up for all the sins of all people. The sins of all people including me and every one of you. So when we think of Jesus on the cross we must realize that we put Him up there just the same as anyone in His own day did.

Jesus was interceding, taking our place between the wrath of God and us for our actions that deserve the judgment of the Holy God.

Jesus spoke his first words on the cross right after he was lifted up and it was certainly what know one was expecting this suffering, dying man to say.

So much had happened to this man since the night before.

-One of his closest disciples had betrayed him for money.

-He was arrested by temple soldiers.

-He was interrogated by Annas the high priest.

-He was tried on false evidence by the Jewish council.

-He was denied by his most vocal supporter, Peter. Not once but three times.

-He was beaten and flogged by the soldiers.

-Questioned by the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate and King Herod Antipas.

-Taken before Pilate again

-Whipped by some more Roman soldiers.

-Finally condemned by Pilate to be crucified at the insistence of the local people who had just been cheering him a few days before.

-Mocked by the soldiers and crowned with thorns that cut into his brow.

-Forced to carry his cross to the place of his execution.

-Stripped and completely expunged of any dignity.

-Nailed. I repeat nailed to a board.

-Lifted on a cross to hang from his nail pierced hands and feet until dead.

If you had been Jesus and you were looking down from the cross at those who had just schemed to have you murdered, and yes the ones who actually beat you and nailed you to the tree, what would you want to say to them?

I can’t imagine what I would be saying. Something I would not want repeated here today I’m sure.

What Jesus actually said was, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing”.

I have always been blown away by the immense power of that statement. I can truly say I would not have felt that way about those people trying to kill me. But I am not Jesus. I am not God in the flesh. Jesus was.

The first thing Jesus says is to forgive the ones betraying Him. He wasn’t denying their part but he was saying they did not know what they were doing.

The Jews thought they were getting rid of a blasphemer. The Romans thought they were punishing a criminal. None of them knew they were committing the most horrific offense of putting the “Author of life” to death.

So Jesus just did what He did best. Even in this worst moment, Jesus interceded for sinners.

Jesus was a man who practiced what he had preached. He had said, “Love your enemies” and “Pray for those who persecute you”.

Jesus meant it and he still does.

He became the Lamb that took the sins of man away. No longer would the system of sacrifice of that time be needed. Jesus has been the one time sacrifice and the priest for us all. Even today.

As followers of Christ our goal is to be in the Holy presence of God. The place of all holiness and purity and light. What could make us worthy of being permitted into that presence? How good would I have to be?

How good would you have to be? Ever thought about that? What can I do to make myself good enough? I want to be good enough to get to be in God’s presence. I want to get to heaven cause only good people go to heaven. Right?

If I go to church every week, read my Bible every day, put enough money in the plate, stop cussing, avoid eating too much, be patient with my kids. Boy this list could go on and on of what I need to do if I want to be good enough.

Don’t believe I could do everything I would need to do. What if I can’t be good enough? What if I would fall short? I’m starting to worry about my chance of getting to be with God. Don’t believe I could ever do anything good enough to get there. Ever feel like that?

But wait, Jesus had something to say about this on the cross, right?

“Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.

He said this as his blood was flowing down. That same blood still flows today.

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