Summary: This message examines the significance of Christ praying for our forgiveness while he was hanging from the cross.
The Gospel in the Seven Sayings of the Cross—Pt. 2
Forgiveness and Fellowship
Scripture Ref: Luke 23:34
a. Last week we started a series on how the gospel is portrayed in Jesus’ seven sayings from the cross. We saw how the gospel in its entirety was presented in those seven, seemingly simple statements.
b. Today and in the coming weeks, I want to look at each of those statements individually and dig a little deeper into each one.
c. Today we are going to examine the first statement Christ made from the cross.
d. Read Luke 23:34.
e. The obvious question at this point is, “What is the significance of forgiveness? What does it mean?”
f. We are pretty sure we know what the word means, but if I was to put you on the spot right now and ask you for its definition, could you give me a textbook definition without using the word itself?
g. According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, the definition of the word “forgive” is:
To pardon; to remit, as an offense or debt; to overlook an offense, and treat the offender as not guilty. The original and proper phrase is to forgive the offense, to send it away, to reject it, that is, not to impute it, [put it to] the offender. But by an easy transition, we also use the phrase, to forgive the person offending.
h. So we are going to examine this morning why Christ would ask His Father to overlook our offenses and treat us as not guilty.
2. In the Hour of the Greatest Pain
a. How we respond to people and events when we are in great pain says a lot about who we are. I don’t mean just physical pain; it can be mental or emotional pain as well.
(1) Do we loudly complain to the world about what great pain we are suffering and what a nasty hand life has dealt us?
(2) Do we turn inward, shutting down and shutting out the world.
(3) Or do we examine and try to figure out why we are in such pain and what we can do to stop it?
b. Pain was not a new thing for Jesus. With the exception of the last few days of his ministry he did not experience the physical abuse His disciples later would, He was certainly no stranger to mental and emotional abuse.
c. Yet in His hour of worst pain, as He hung from the cross and looked out over the sea of humanity that had inflicted this torture on Him, He did not become an introvert.
d. Jesus knew He had done nothing that warranted the suffering He was experiencing.
(1) It was not because personal sin, because He was sinless.
(2) He was, however, aware that He was bearing the sins of the world.
(3) Sometimes we must examine ourselves to see if our suffering is due to our sin.
(4) Suffering exists in this world because of sin, stemming from the original sin. We don’t always suffer because of personal sin, but because of the sins of our ancestors.
e. Jesus, standing before the blind man outside the temple, spoke of suffering for three reasons:
(1) Suffering because of personal sin.
(2) Suffering because of parents’ sin.
(3) Suffering for the glory of God (John 9:3).
(4) Read John 9:3—Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.
(a) Jesus did not mean that the man had not sinned, or that his parents had not sinned.
(b) Instead, He meant that the blindness was not a direct result of sin in their lives.
(c) God had allowed this man to be born blind in order that he might become a means of displaying God’s mighty works.
(d) Before the man was ever born, Jesus knew He would give sight to those blind eyes.
3. If It Were Not for Sin There Would Have Been No Cross
a. If it were not for sin, there would have been no need for the cross.
b. You might say at this point that I seem to be focusing entirely too much on sin, but, unfortunately, it is necessary.
c. If there had been no such thing as sin, sacrifices would not have been necessary.
(1) Read Hebrews 9:22—Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
(2) Up until Christ became the ultimate sacrifice, that forgiveness was imperfect and temporary.
(3) It was imperfect because it still did not give us direct access to God; it still did not guarantee a future in His presence.
(4) The cross was God’s exacting a payment for our sins through a once and for all perfect sacrifice.