First United Methodist Church Friday noon
Franklin, NC 28734 April 14, 2017
“Father, Forgive Them…”
Text: Luke 23:34a
Behold, the Lord Jesus Christ, the God-man (so Augustine, 354-430)—smitten of God and afflicted, bearing inexpressible physical and spiritual pain, hanging from the Cross a curse for sinners. Behold, in the midst of such immeasurable agony, His soul’s anguished cry, “Father, forgive them…for they know not what they do.”
“…For they know not what they do.” They know not that they crucify a perfectly innocent Man—Who not only has committed no crime worthy of death, but Who also never has transgressed one jot or tittle of the Law. They know not that He Who hangs in agony on the Cross was instrumental in their creation. They know not that the One they deride and mock is the long-promised Deliverer—the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ. They know not that “Hosanna,” is the correct cry and that “Crucify,” is the wrong cry. They know not.
Yet Jesus cries, “Father, forgive them.” Marvel at His heart—particularly in view of His agony. He would be perfectly justified—not to mention well within His power—to vaporize His tormentors in the heat of His righteous wrath. This is not His heart. His heart, as expressed here and elsewhere, is, by His atoning work, to vindicate His Father’s honor and to reconcile sinful persons to God through faith in Himself. He knows Who He is and what He is doing; they do not. Hence, He cries, “Father, forgive them.”
He can cry thus because He knows that His Father has given into His hand many of the very ones who scream, “Crucify” that day—and none shall pluck them from His hand. Some of them will come into the family of God in Christ as early as Peter’s sermon on Pentecost morning—just over seven weeks away. Those whom Jesus calls to faith in Himself—even many of His tormentors that day—will embrace Him as Savior and Lord. They, in turn, will tell others, who will tell others, and so forth from their day down through our day and beyond until He returns in glory.
If you be in Christ today, through faith in Him, then the Father has heard His dear Son’s plea on your behalf and granted it. If, this day, you never have placed your trust in Christ as Lord and Savior, then may you desire to be included in Jesus’ plea, receive Him by faith, and be eternally glad.