The Seven Words from the Savior on the Cross: Forgiveness 1

"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."  Luke 23:34. 

And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. (Luke 23:26-34 ESV)

“What really matters? What counts? Tell me! Skip the periphery. Go to the essence! Tell me the part that matters. What it all comes down, the central focus of the Scriptures is the cross. In the Old Testament, the cross is what the Old Testament saint look forward to with each daily sacrifice. In the New Testament, the cross is what the saint remembers with each observance of the Lord’s Supper or Communion.

What happened on the cross? As Jesus hung on the cross, seven things happened to make the cross the central focus of the Scriptures. Seven truths became living as Jesus in His humanity hung dying.  Jesus made seven statements. Jesus spoke seven times and in those blessed words from our Savior and Lord, Jesus spoke of forgiveness, hope, love, suffering, humanity, victory, and completion.

As one man has eloquently written:

Final acts. Final hours. Final words. For many individuals, one’s last words reflect a life well lived. So do the last words of our Master. When on the edge of death, Jesus, too, got his house in order: A final prayer of forgiveness. A plea honored. A request of love. A question of suffering. A confession of humanity. A call of victory. . A cry of completion. Words of chance muttered by a desperate martyr? No. They were words of intent, painted by the Divine Deliverer on the canvas of sacrifice. Final words! Final acts! Each one is a window through which the cross can be better understood. Each one opens a treasury of promises.

We begin with a prayer of forgiveness.