“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,” Luke 23:34.
We go a little further in our consideration of this first saying of Christ on the cross, His praying that his crucifiers may be forgiven.
THE LORD IDENTIFIES MAN’S CHIEF NEED
He does not pray for any of the things men count absolutely vital and necessary to happiness, but that they may be forgiven their sins.
- There was a most abundant answer to this prayer. Consider: Acts 2:23, 41; 3:13-15, 17-19, 5:12-14, 6:7.
- All forgiveness, like theirs, comes from the cross. The sacrifice and the intercessions of Christ are the source of our forgiveness. Listen to Paul: “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses,” Acts 13:38-39. The Lord Jesus is the only source of forgiveness of sin! Add to this the words of 1 Cor 1:23-24.
- Forgiveness is pronounced by the Father upon the basis of the Saviour’s death. Heed these words: “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet (has rendered us fit) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins,” Colossians 1:12-14. Our salvation is traced back to the workings of the Father.
- Those thus forgiven were most unworthy. Were there ever men who deserved forgiveness less than these men, the actual deniers and crucifiers of the Saviour?
That being so, boys and girls, none may think that they are too sinful to seek mercy and pardon from the Lord Jesus.
Those who hear the gospel and reject it are mentioned by Peter. “For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire,” 2 Peter 2:21-22. Oh, heed and obey the gospel girls and boys.