Hanging from the cross on Calvary, Jesus uttered seven powerful statements that reveal His heart and ministry. Each individual statement carries the full weight of the Gospel, but together they are a concise portrait of God's eternal plan of salvation. This portrait reminds us that nothing but the finished work of Jesus Christ assures eternal salvation. Over the next several days, we will look at these seven statements from the cross.
Even in His suffering, Jesus forgave His tormentors and cared for their souls.
In His first statement, Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). Jesus did not ask forgiveness for Himself—being sinless, He did not need forgiveness. Jesus did not ask for a quick, painless death—He knew His purpose for dying on the cross. Jesus did not ask God for vengeance on the people who sentenced Him to death—instead He prayed on their behalf. Even in His suffering, Jesus forgave His tormentors and cared for their souls. If sinless Jesus could forgive those who hurt Him, could forgive us of our sins—taking our just punishment for those sins—He can give us the strength to forgive others. Is there someone in your life who you need to forgive today?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me follow Your example and offer forgiveness to others, whether I think they deserve it or not. Help me remember the grace I have received so that I might extend grace and forgiveness to others with compassion. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.' And they divided up his clothes by casting lots" (Luke 23:34).