Greenhills Christian Fellowship Durham
“Father, Forgive Them”
Part 1, The Word on the Cross Luke 23:32-36; Mark 2:1-13 Luis Cruz, GCF Durham
Lent is the season for fasting, self-denial and moderation for some people. But biblically speaking, Lent is more than the observance of these seasonal practices, rather, it is a time to refocus on Christ after the many holidays and vacations. And focusing on Jesus should be daily not just seasonal. A good way to focus on the Lord is by reflecting on His Seven last words on the cross. Jesus said, “35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35. 1. Forgiveness is in God’s nature. Luke 23:34, “34 “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” • Jesus’ plea for forgiveness is an appeal to God’s nature. Exodus 34: 6b-7, “6b “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” • God is compassionate, gracious, loving, consistent, faithful, forgiving, righteous. • God is also merciful and pure. Psalm 55:1-2 • God forgives because of His attributes. 2. Forgiveness is in Jesus’ nature. Luke 23:34, “34 “Father, forgive them…” • A petition for His friends’ forgiveness was made on the cross. • Forgiveness for Jesus’ future believers. • Before the crucifixion, Jesus preached forgiveness. • Jesus’ nature is consistent with God’s attributes. Mark 2:4-5, “4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” • Jesus saw the act of faith in the paralyzed man. • Jesus saw the paralytic’s greatest need - forgiveness. • Forgiveness comes after believing that Jesus is the Son of God. • Healing of the soul is more important than physical healing. • Read about living faith versus dead faith in James 2:18-20. 3. Forgiveness is costly. “they crucified him there, along with the criminals —one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him.” Luke 23:33-35 • Abandoned, stripped of dignity, physical and emotional pain. • Humiliation, shame, and rejection. • Jesus was willing to take the pain so that we wouldn’t have to. • The removal of our future eternal pain revealed Christ’s true and complete forgiveness. 4. God’s forgiveness erases all our sins and He does not hold them against us. “Father, forgive them…” Isaiah 43:25, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” • Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting. • Forgiveness means erasing the list of offenses. • Forgiveness means not using an offense against us. • God’s forgiveness in Christ, restored us into fellowship with Him. • Forgiveness, therefore, is restorative.
Challenge: • Ask God’s forgiveness today. • Choose to forgive others because you have been forgiven.