COME TO THE CROSS

“FATHER FORGIVE THEM FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO” are the first words that Jesus uttered from the cross.  It is difficult to even imagine that Jesus suffering, dying on a Roman cross speaks words of love and forgiveness.  He prays for those who are killing Him.  We would have understood if He had cried out for mercy for Himself or even destruction on those who were crucifying Him.  But no, He cries for God to extend forgiveness to His enemies.
Remember Sampson, when he got the opportunity, he prayed for the destruction of his enemies and pulled the temple down upon them.  That makes more sense. doesn’t it?  But Jesus practiced what He taught.  Jesus had taught, “Love your enemies…return good for evil.”  On another occasion, Jesus told His followers, “not to forgive seven times seven but seventy times seven” meaning without limit.

We must understand that this prayer for forgiveness was not a request for the blanket pardon or cancellation of the penalty of sin of those at the foot of the cross who were killing Jesus. Ignorance is not bliss.  God cannot lower His righteous standards to our ignorance.  Such a request would be inconsistent with divine justice and human free will.
When  people do not desire God’s forgiveness and seek it, forgiveness is not thrust upon them.

It was a request not for the cancellation of the consequences of sin, but a request for the postponement of the consequences.  It was as if Jesus was saying, “Father, don’t strike them down now, give them a chance to understand what this is all about. Postpone the day of judgment. Give them an opportunity to learn the truth.”
Prayer for forgiveness cannot be answered without the cooperation of those prayed for.  Unless a person turns to God, repents, and seeks pardon for themselves, how can God forgive them?

How and when was Christ’s prayer answered?  Jesus prayer was not answered then and there. But, 50 days later in the city of Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost through the Holy Spirit inspired Apostles His prayer was answered.  There, for the first time the full gospel was proclaimed because Jesus had come, died, buried, arose, ascended, and sent back the Holy Spirit to guide the Apostles in divine truth. The Apostle Peter told the same people who killed Jesus: “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this; God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”  Acts 2:36   The people hearing this cried out, “what shall we do?”  Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  Acts 2:38   “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about 3000 were added to their number that day.”  Acts. 2:41

Jesus is still praying, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”  The Bible is available and we cannot plead ignorance. There has to be an individual response in acceptance of God forgiveness through Jesus.

One Response to “COME TO THE CROSS”

  1. What Beautiful words on Forgiveness. Why do some find it so hard to forgive .? To belong to Christ, we have to have a forgiving spirit. Thank you for these words that remind us, me of what Christ has done by going to the cross and Forgiving all our sins if we but ask and accept Him as Lord and Savior .
    Love and Prayers, Joann

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