7 Sayings of Christ on the Cross (Luke 23:27-49) - 7 PARTS
PART 1 - Christ’s First Saying
“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
According to Matthew’s account, Jesus had already suffered varied forms of abuse. He had been “scourged” (Matthew 27:26); He had “a crown of thorns” placed upon His head and was “mocked” (Matthew 27:29); the wicked ones had “spit upon Him . . . and smote Him on the head” (Matthew 27:30), and nailed Him to the cross. Jesus has been on the cross now for a period of time and has said nothing. Everyone is wondering what will He say? Suddenly from the lips of Jesus there comes the first word since He has been on the cross. The suspense of only a half-minute pause would have seemed like an eternity. What will His next words be? Will He pronounce a curse upon them?
His first words would bring a hush over the crowd. In the darkest hours of His life, Jesus called upon Him as a trustworthy “Father.” The next words that Jesus spoke are perhaps the sweetest words to ever fall from the lips of the Saviour. He says, "Father, forgive them". This fulfilled the prophecy “and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12). We cannot comprehend what a sword this would pierce into the unbelieving hearts of those Jews. Try to imagine what must have been going through the mind of those that had just passed by the cross and ridiculed Him for making Himself the Son of God.
In essence, the first words that came from His mouth were, “I love you!”. His prayer to the Father for the forgiveness of His enemies was an expression of love for sinners. The malice of hatred was never as toxic as in this hour. Yet the strength of love was never as powerful as when Christ prayed for His enemies. While the wicked succeeded in manifesting their wicked hearts, the Lover of sinners succeeded in revealing His loving heart. And by asking the Father to forgive them, He demonstrated to us that where there is a heart of compassion, there is a heart of forgiveness.
Then the next phrase "For they know what they do" was like adding insult to injury. The Jews were a very proud people and to tell them they did not know what they were doing did not help their feelings. This must have been a stunned crowd as they tried to analyze what the Lord Jesus had just said. The Saviour of men was the center of attention. But due to spiritual corruption and depravity, the people were blinded to His Person. Paul stated this, “for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” I Corinthians 2:8. The Jews did not fully understand the greatness of their sin of crucifying their God and Creator. Instead of showing Him their affection and devotion, they revealed their accusations and detestation. Because God alone can forgive sin and open blinded eyes, we must also pray for those who continue in spiritual ignorance.
PRAYER: Father in heaven, thank You for loving me and sending Jesus to die on the cross for me. Thank You that I can be forgiven of all my sins. Help me to share this Good News with others. In Your name. Amen.
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