Sovereignty of God :: Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do


Jesus’ first words from the Cross was “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” While many focus on the forgiveness part of this saying, it is important to recognize that the second part is equally important because it establishes the sovereignty of God. Unbeknownst to those who played a part in the crucifixion of Jesus, for whom Jesus sought forgiveness, was the fact, that it was God’s master plan for the redemption of mankind that the Son of God must shed his blood for the remission of mankind’s sin. God sovereignty comes out on top in the affairs of man, even in the crucifixion of Jesus for the Scripture was to be fulfilled as mentioned in the prophecy of Daniel, that they shall put the Anointed One to death (Daniel 9:26). While men played a mere part in God’s redemptive work, it was God who was not only the conductor but he was also in control of all that transpired that led to the crucifixion of Jesus. It was indeed God’s plan that Jesus should be made an offering for sin (Isaiah 53:10). While man intended to hurt Jesus and do him evil, God intended it all for good – the good of all mankind – to save all mankind (Genesis 50:20).

Points to ponder:
God is Sovereign and his word will always come true and while men may mean evil against you, God means it all for good (to save much people – made alive in Jesus Christ). In other words, the words of Jesus today ring – Father, forgive them, for you are Sovereign and all that you have planned shall come to pass, which the people do/may not know.

Luke 23:34 (KJV)
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Isaiah 53:10 (NLT)
10 But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s good plan will prosper in his hands.

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do


Jesus’ first words from the Cross was one of forgiveness and it was addressed to God, his Father. Jesus basically asked God to forgive those who had hurt him. While I have studied the meaning of these words a few times in the past, I did not understand the extent of this Father Son interaction until recently, because of a life experience.

Reuben, our 9 year son was verbally libeled and attacked by someone, whom I feel is blinded by the god of the world (2 Corinthians 4:4). This was an unprovoked attack. As a father, my initial reaction was to lash back. After prayer and Godly counsel from my wife, I chose not to, conflicting in the battle between the flesh (wanting to fight for my son) and my Spirit (which was convincing me that God will fight the battles for us), which God beautifully did.

Yet, to be honest, I still find it incredibly difficult to forgive, something that I have realized that I must personally work on. Then I realized that if my son, Reuben, asks me to forgive this person, it would be relatively a lot easier, as the love for my son would trump any hurt or offense caused by anyone.

In fact, it also dawned on me that though the people lied and murdered Jesus, they were acting under the influence of the evil one, who had blinded their minds – they did not know what they were doing! which Jesus recognized and stopped God’s wrath from falling on man. He knew what was in man (John 2:25) and stopped God’s anger. Imagine for a moment, if Jesus had not stepped in and asked God to forgive his persecutors – I can only speculate that the result would have been catastrophic. God would have been completely justified even if he had undone all of creation for its fallen state.

If I, as an earthly imperfect father, can pent up so much anger in defense of our son, how many manifold times more would have been God’s, the Holy Father’s (John 17:11), anger on man, when the people attacked and crucified his only begotten perfect Son, Jesus Christ. Now I understand the implication and the impact of the first words of Jesus from the Cross of Calvary. On one hand, while it show Jesus’ omniscience of mankind and his love for the people, on the other hand, it implicitly it reveals to us the Love of God, the Father, for his Son, Jesus.

Points to ponder:
Being under the influence of the evil one, people may hurt us, without knowing (realizing) what they are doing and Jesus said, pray for those who persecute you and bless those who curse you. Yeah, it is undoubtedly hard to forgive, but as a Christ follower, we must (especially I must) follow Jesus’ example and call on him “Abba, Forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” and that is something that I ought not to merely ponder upon, but act on as well. (Coveting your prayers.)

Luke 23:34 (KJV)
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Cross Verbs – Calling to Action :: 1st saying from the Cross


This is the 1st post of the series, Cross Verbs >> Calling to Action, which is a look at the 7 sayings of Jesus Christ from the Cross, with an “action” perspective, for faith without action is dead (James 2:17). What is of note is that each saying has a verb in it, implying an action of Jesus Christ, the Lord, and what’s more, is that his action calls for our action.

Saying One: Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).

The Cross verb is “forgive”.
He forgave us, calling to action, our forgiving of others as well.

Points to ponder:
Who do you have to forgive? Make a list of those who have hurt you. This may be a friend, foe or possibly even a family member, and remember, while while we were still sinners, Christ died for us, forgiving us of our sins (Romans 5:8). Thankfully God is not selective in his forgiveness, forgiving some and not others, like some of us are. Imagine, for a moment, what your state would be, if God chooses not to forgive you. He forgave us so we can forgive.

The Cross verb “forgive” call us to action – to forgive.

Prayer: Lord, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us (Matthew 6:12).

Luke 23:34 (KJV)
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Nahum 3:1 – Woe to the bloody city!


While the first chapter of Nahum showcases God as a jealous God and the second chapter showcases God as a judging God, the third chapter of Nahum establishes the fact, that God is not only jealous and judging, but that he is a Just God and his justice shall always prevail.

Nahum chapter 3 highlights the justice of God on the enemies of his people (Judah), particularly Nineveh (Assyrians) in this case. The verdict on Nineveh is that it was a bloody city, full of lies and robbery, always victimizing (preying on) other nations and afflicting the people of God (Nahum 3:1; Nahum 3:19). It begins with the words, “Woe to the bloody city!”, the city here referring to Nineveh, the capital city of Assyria. Nineveh was known for its bloodshed. The Assyrians did not spare any nation that they conquered (2 Kings 19:11) and the extent of their vile cruel wickedness stretched to all the nations they invaded (Nahum 3:19). Rightfully so, the Assyrian kings and princesses were referred to as lions (Nahum 2:11-12), for lions do not spare the cubs of the pride that they take over. The Assyrians were guilty of bloodshed and murder, directly contradicting the “Thou shalt not kill” commandment of God (Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17; Matthew 5:21; Romans 13:9).

Points to ponder:
The Bible states that in the blood is life (Genesis 9:4) and woe to anyone who sheds blood. By shedding blood, the Assyrians were snatching the life that was in the people, who are fashioned in God’s image.  According to God’s word, this warranted equitable justice – blood for blood, for it is written “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” (Genesis 9:6). The blood of the Assyrians will soon be spilled by the Medo-Babylonian army of men, that God was raising to conquer Nineveh.

God is a just God, but he is also a loving God. In God’s just nature, he avenges with a “blood for blood” motif, but in his loving nature, he is willing to forgive even the vilest of murderers (like Barabbas (Mark 15:7), king David (2 Samuel 11:14-17), the Apostle Paul when he was Saul (Acts 9:1)). Jesus demonstrated the love of God, by crying out, “Father, forgive them (those who shed his blood by crucifying him to the Cross) for they did not know, how the Justice and Love of God should meet on the Cross, for the remission of sins and redemption of mankind.” Yes, it is  woe to all who shed blood, according to the law, but the law is purged by blood (Hebrews 9:22) for if we repent, God is faithful and just to forgive us of all our sins (1 John 1:9).

Nahum 3:1-7 (KJV)
Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not;

Hebrews 9:22 (KJV)
22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. 

They know not :: Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do


Jesus’ first saying from the Cross is recorded in the gospel according to the apostle Luke in chapters 23 verse 34. It reads “Father, forgive them;  for they know not what they do.” referring to the parties that were responsible for his crucifixion at that present time, and all who preceded and succeeded them.

Jesus’ reasoning to God, his Father was that the people did not know. What is it that the people did not know? They did not know, that knowing God and Jesus, whom God had sent was eternal life (John 17:3). In other words, they did not know what eternal life is. They did not know that in killing Jesus, the One who is life personified, they were players in God’s grand plan of being gifted eternal life, for without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin and the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:22; Romans 6:23; John 3:16).

They did not know that the verdict of their guilty act of murdering Jesus was not death, but life; life eternal.

Points to ponder:
Do you know God the Father and Jesus whom he has sent, for only in knowing God the Father, and his Only begotten son, through the revelation of God’s Holy Spirit, are you assured of eternal life. If we know, and our verdict is life instead of the death which we deserve, are we living as if we have been gifted eternal life, or are we living our lives without Christ Jesus being the Lord and Master of our lives. In other words. would Jesus have to request to God the Father, today, for him to forgive us and give God the reason – They know not? Think about that.

Luke 23:33-34 (KJV)
33
 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

John 17:3 (KJV)
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Let’s talk business :: From the Cross – 1st Saying


When Jesus was twelve years old, he questioned, “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49) and on his crucifixion, he spoke seven sayings that are often expanded upon on Good Friday services, all over the world. This series, ‘Let’s talk business’ is a look at the seven sayings of Jesus Christ from the Cross, from a business perspective. Today we shall look at the first saying from the Cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” as recorded in Luke 23:34.

According to BusinessDictionary.com, the term “Absorbed Account” is used to describe an account that is merged or combined with another related account and once absorbed, the original account ceases to exist, even though a paper trail remains showing proof of how the funds have been moved.

When Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”, he was indeed absorbing the debt (the wages of sin is death) of all mankind into his very own account, for He who knew no sin, became sin for the Salvation of mankind (2 Corinthians 5:21). Now our debt ceases to exist, even though our conscience may exist to remind us of how unworthy we were, yet now without condemnation for having believed in Jesus Christ, the Only begotten Son of God and Savior of all mankind.

Points to ponder:
In business terms, “Father, forgive them for I am absorbing their account/debt”, said Jesus. Question: Has your life’s account been absorbed by Jesus Christ?

Luke 23:34 (KJV)
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

1 Corinthians 5:21 (KJV)
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do


The first saying of Jesus on the Cross is commonly referred to as the word of Forgiveness and has been expanded upon in many good Friday sermons. It has several hidden treasures that can be missed if careful attention is not given.

When Jesus said “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”, he was establishing three facts –
1. The character of God the Father
2. The character of God the Son
3. The character of man

He was establishing the fact that the God of heaven is first a Father who would listen to the intercessory requests of His Son [and to that of his sons and daughter]. He was establishing the fact that God the Father was a forgiving God. This shows us the character of God the Father, as Father and as a Forgiving God.

But have you wondered, why Jesus did not forgive the ones he prayed for himself, but instead asked God the Father to forgive? Did he not have the right to forgive? From the gospel according to Matthew, from the account of the man with palsy being healed (not just physically, but spiritually as well, with the forgiveness of his sins), we learn that Jesus had the power (authority/right) to forgive sins on earth. Jesus had the right to forgive but he did not want to grab on to his rights as God, but instead He  humbled himself  as a servant, totally surrendering unto the plan of God the Father, unto death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2). This shows us the character of God the Son (Jesus) as a humble servant, accomplishing the work of God the Father.

Finally, Jesus’ first saying on the Cross, shows us the character of man. That man does not know. But what is it that man does not know? Many do not know of God’s righteousness, and try hard to establish their own righteousness, without totally submitting to God (Romans 10:3). Many are still ignorant that the only means to salvation is by believing in God the son, for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to all who believe (Romans 10:4) and it is the knowledge of this Truth that sets one free (John 8:32) from the penalty of sin (because God the Father forgives) and the power of death (which Jesus conquered by his humility and total surrender).  Him/her whom the Son of God sets free, is free indeed (John 8:36).

Points to ponder:
1. Are you willing to totally submit to God?
2. Are you willing to be freed from the wages of sin, which is death? If so, believe in Jesus.

Luke 23:33-34 (KJV)
33
 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Matthew 9:6 (KJV)
6 But that ye may know that the Son of man [Jesus] hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

Romans 10: 1-4 (KJV)
1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.