Father, Forgive Them

Title: Father, Forgive Them

Bible Book: Luke 23 : 33-38

Author: Mike Stone

Subject: Cross; Forgiveness



This series of 7 messages will examine the 7 statements that Christ made while on the cross. These are 7 statements that immediately preceded His death for the sins of the world.

Last words are extremely important. A pastor visiting the nursing home asked 3 old ladies, “What do you want people to say about you when they look into your casket?”

The first lady said, “She was a good woman.”

The second lady said, “Doesn’t she look nice?”

The third lady said, “Look, she’s moving!”

A lady, wanting to get in the last word with her kids had her tombstone inscribed with these words, “I told you I was sick.”

But these seven statements of Jesus aren’t humorous words, but heavenly words.

John Phillips in “The View from Mt Calvary” wrote, “These cries of Christ from the cross were no random utterances of a man dying in agony. They were the sayings of the Incarnate Christ of God dying a predetermined death in complete control of all that took place.”

I. The Providential Setting of these Words

It was R.G. Lee who said, “The death of Christ was no afterthought. It was prophesied, promised, and planned by God. Jesus was born with the shadow of the cross upon Him.”

A. The Place Of These Words (the skull)

In Aramaic the word for “skull” is “Golgotha.” Latin = “Calvarius”

Abraham saw this place. The hill called Calvary is part of a mountainous ridge known as “Moriah.” In Genesis 22:2 God sends Abraham to the region of Moriah. We read in Genesis 22:14, “And Abraham called the name of the place, ‘The LORD will provide’ as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.” Though archaeologists disagree, this could be the very place where centuries earlier God prophetically provided a “ram caught in the thicket” to be a substitute for Isaac.

B. The Person Of These Words (But Jesus was saying…)

1. His miracles

He had healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, sanity to the insane, and dignity to the outcast…

This is the One who multiplied the fish and bread…

Who walked on water…who calmed the sea…

2. His mercies

Psalm 89:1 – “I will sing of the mercies…”

Lamentations 3:22-23 – “The steadfast love of the Lord…”

He showed mercy to the woman caught in adultery…

He saved the woman at the well…

He brought hope to sin-sick Nicodemus…

3. His messages

This is where He got into trouble.

“Never a man spoke like this man!”

This statement was true of His words while He was living.

It is true of His statements made while dying.

C. The passion of these words (But Jesus was saying…)

This verb tense is in the imperfect. He was saying it over and over and over again. In the garden…”Father, forgive them…” - Before Caiaphas…”Father, forgive them…” - Before Pilate…Herod…Pilate (2x)… - At the flogging post…crown of thorns…reed for a scepter…Plucked his beard…nails in his hands and feet… - he was saying, “Father, forgive them!”

He has just received the most painful sentence ever devised by man, crucifixion.

Matthew 26:53-54 – To Simon Peter in the garden – “Do you think that I cannot appeal to My father and He will not at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled which say that it must happen this way?”

Rather than demonstrate rancor, revenge, or resentment, Jesus willingly and sovereignly speaks of redemption.

But Jesus was saying…(KJV) Then Jesus was saying.

II. The Prophetic Significance of these Words (Isaiah 53)

Jesus Christ miraculously fulfilled every OT prophecy.

This statement fulfilled one of over 300 prophecies in the OT alone. Christ and Christ alone fulfilled each one.

A mathematician named Dr. Peter Stoner did some calculations on the probability of one man fulfilling 8 Messianic prophecies. He determined it would be 1 in 10 (17). That is, 1 chance out of 100 million million.

That’s like covering the state of Texas in silver dollars, 2 feet deep, marking one…And that’s just 8 prophecies.

Dr. Charles Ryrie with the Moody Bible Institute has calculated that it would take 800 billion-billion people in order to find one person who could fulfill even 100 of the prophecies of the Messiah. (Today in the Word, MBI, December 1989, pg. 7)

But Jesus did not fulfill 8, or 100, or 200, or even 250 – he fulfilled more than 300 in the Old Testament, not counting New Testament prophecies.

Listen to how the Scriptures “winnow away” all other candidates to the exclusion of Jesus Christ.

Genesis 3:15 – The Messiah would be a male (excluding ½)

Genesis 9:26-27 - A descendant of Noah’s son, Shem, excluding 2/3 of the remaining male population. (3 sons survived the flood)

Genesis 22:18 and others - A descendent of Abraham, excluding all of Shem’s other descendents.

Genesis 17:21 - A descendent of Abraham’s son Isaac, excluding Ishmael’s line

Genesis 35:10-12 - A descendent of Isaac’s son Jacob, excluding Esau’s offspring.

Genesis 49:10 and Isaiah 37:31 - A descendent of Jacob’s son, Judah, excluding 11/12 of the remaining group!

He would be a descendent of Jesse, of the tribe of Benjamin, and of the house of David, automatically excluding all other members of the Hebrew race.

Malachi 3:1 - He would come while the temple was standing in Jerusalem. The temple was built around 20BC and destroyed in AD 70. So we have to exclude everyone except those born from 20BC to 70AD.

Psalm 72 – He would be visited by great men (magi)

Isaiah 7:14 – Born of a virgin

Micah 5:2 – He would be born in Bethlehem

He would perform miracles. (Isaiah 35:5-6)

Isaiah 42:7 – He would open blind eyes

He would speak in parables. (Psalm 78)

A “man in the wilderness” would announce him (Isaiah 40:3)

He would enter Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9)

Some prophecy scholars believe that by combining prophecies from Daniel 9:25 and Nehemiah 2 we discover the EXACT date that the Messiah would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, the Sunday before Passover in AD 29, the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem.

He would be betrayed by a friend (Psalm 41:9 and 55:12)

He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah) then those 30 pieces would be thrown onto the temple floor.

In Psalm 22 King David prophesied Jesus’ death by crucifixion in graphic detail, hundreds of years before the Romans even devised the method of crucifixion.

Psalm 34 – His bones would not be broken

Psalm 22 – They would gamble for His clothes

Isaiah 53 says He would be wounded, pierced, and beaten with stripes…condemned, and crucified between thieves…

Psalm 16 prophesied that He would be raised from the dead.

Psalm 68 says He will ascend into heaven

Psalm 110 says He will be seated at the right hand of God.

Isaiah 53:12 – “He interceded for the transgressors.”

This prayer was not only an example. It was a requirement.

If Jesus had not prayed this prayer, He would not have been the Messiah.

III. The Powerful Salvation in these Words (v. 34)

O the love that drew salvation’s plan…o the mighty gulf…

A. The Offended (Father)

The issue is not whether or not you have a problem with God. God has a problem with you.

B. The Offenders (forgive them)

1. Those before the cross

This provision applies to all the OT saints who were justified by faith in what God would do at the cross.

2. Those beneath the cross

The skeptics (35a) What do I do to be lost? Nothing.

The Sanhedrin (35b) The soldiers (36-37)

It is my PERSONAL OPINION that those who crucified Jesus will never answer for the actual acts of the crucifixion. They will answer for their rejection of Christ.

3. Those beyond the cross

C. The Offense (for they know not what they do)

We have a sinful behavior. (Romans 3:23)

We have a sinful bent. (Romans 5:12)

Your response to this series of messages will reveal quite a bit about your spiritual condition. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “The preaching of the cross is foolishness to them that are perishing but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

If our need had been info, God would have sent us an educator.

Technology? God would have sent us a scientist.

Money? God would have sent us an economist.

Pleasure? God would have sent us an entertainer.

But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.

And the Savior prayed, “Father forgive them…”


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