Summary: And this morning, I want to talk about one of the most beautiful words found in the human language and that Word is forgiveness.
The seven last savings of Jesus on the cross. FORGIVENESS. #1
Luke 23:33 -- 34. 07/18/04
“And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, there they crucified him and the male factors, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. And they departed his raiment and cast lots.”
I want to bring a series of messages around the subject, the seven last sayings of Jesus on the cross. I thought about these back in February, when the Mel Gibson’s movie, the passion was showing. And this morning, I want to talk about one of the most beautiful words found in the human language and that Word is forgiveness. The reason I believe this is one of the most beautiful words in the human language is because all of us need forgiveness. The Bible says all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Now all the words of Jesus are important. With a word from Jesus, the lame would walk. With a word from Jesus, the blind would see. With a word from Jesus the dead would rise. And Jesus said while he was on the cross, father forgive them. That was the first words Jesus said from the cross.
Now as we think about this word forgiveness in the context we find it, we see that it was an EXPRESSION OF PRAYER.
We may find this somewhat surprising because Calvary was not the place of prayer but the place of pain. Calvary was the place of suffering and death and yet we find our savior praying.
I want you to also see that he wasn’t praying for his own deliverance but praying for the ones who nailed him to the cross. His thoughts are not for himself but his thoughts are for others. And folks, speaking from a human perspective, this is a surprising prayer. It is very doubtful that any of us would have been praying for those who beat us to the point of near death. It is doubtful that any of us would have been found praying on the cross for those who spit in our face. No! We would be praying for God to send angels to destroy them and relieve us of our pain. But Jesus knew what man needed most was forgiveness. His life and his death were consistent with his teaching. He said love your enemy, do good to then that despitefully use you. There on the cross, Jesus said father forgive them. An expression of prayer.
I want you to also see that forgiveness in our text is not only an expression of prayer but also an EXPRESSION OF PARDON.
In the Greek text, it indicates that the prayer of Jesus was a continuous prayer. In other words, when they beat him with the rods and the cat of nine tails, when the skin was tearing from his body, he said father forgive them. And when he got to Calvary, they took those rusted nails drove them through his hands into the wood, he said father forgive them. And when they placed his feet on the cross and drove the nail through his feet, he said father forgive them. When they raised the cross and let it drop into the hole tearing his hands from the jolt, he said father forgive them. And when he took upon himself your sins and mine he said father forgive them and in 1978 the month of November when I went to the altar at Peters Creek Baptist Church and invited Jesus to be my personal savior, he said father forgive him. And when I fail him today either in actions or reactions, he says father he is ours forgive him. And today when the devil accuses us before the father, Jesus says forgive them. Listen folks, when you find yourself failing to love your enemy, then come back to the cross, there is a life principal taught there by our savior. That is what the Christian life is all about. Jesus was saying father give them a second chance. Thank God for all those second chances. When Jesus was praying for all those at the cross, they did not know the impact of their crime. Jesus prayed that they might have a second chance to receive grace.