The Interceding Christ :: Father, Forgive them for they know not


Each of the seven sayings from the Cross gives us a glimpse into the nature of Jesus Christ. In the first saying, when Jesus, despite his anguish, prays for the forgiveness of those who had transgressed against him, by requesting his Father to forgive them for they did not know what they did, we see Jesus Christ – the Interceder – between God and man.

The prophet Isaiah had prophesied of the interceding Christ centuries earlier, when he recorded that Jesus’ soul would be poured out unto death and that he would be numbered with the transgressors, bearing the sin of many, and making intercession for the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12). On the Cross, this prophetic saying comes true.

Points to ponder:
Not only is Jesus the interceding Christ on the Cross, but after the Cross, upon his death and victorious resurrection, he is still the interceding Christ in heaven, making intercession for man with God, as the One mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5).

And as followers of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:1), we must also be intercessors – standing the gap (Ezekiel 22:30) – as ambassadors of Jesus Christ, beseeching man to be reconciled with God. (2 Corinthians 5:20). Jesus Christ, the interceder gave us the model of intercession. Are you and I an intercessor for God?

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 53:12 (KJV)
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

1 Timothy 2:5 (KJV)
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

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.

Father forgive them for they know not what they do


The first saying of Jesus as He hung on the Cross, living up to His Name, which was to save His people from their sins was “FATHER, FORGIVE THEM FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO” (Luke 23:34). These are wonderful, wonderful words of Love.

Let’s break this saying down into its individual components as we try to understand the depth of what Jesus meant.

FATHER
The address was a direct and personal address to God as His Father. This was establishing the fact that He was the Son of God in whom God was well pleased. Jesus said He and the Father are one, in other words. If the Father was God, so was He. This is GOD asking GOD to forgive.

FORGIVE THEM
Whom was Jesus asking to forgive?

  • The men and women who shouted “Crucify Him”.
  • The religious leaders and their followers.
  • The indifferent Pilate, the inebriated Herod
  • In essence, transcending all barriers of time, all sinners, including You and Me

FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO
I wish that Jesus had spelled out what the people did not know, for which they had to be forgiven.

WHAT was it that the people DID NOT KNOW?
The people did not know 

  1. THE WILL OF GOD
    In the Garden of Gethsemane we see Jesus, in agony praying and submitting to the will of God as he prayed “Not my Will, but thy (God’s) Will be done”. What was this will of God? Isaiah 53:10 states “Yet, It was the Lord’s will to crush Him (Jesus) and cause Him (Jesus) to suffer”. It was the Lord’s will that Jesus had to suffer and die and bring salvation to all. Luke 23:24, records that PILATE handed over Jesus to the People’s Will, but the people and Pilate were mere ACTORS in the grand design of God’s Will. There were merely doing without knowing what God wanted them to be doing.
  2. THE TRUTH (VERITAS) about the CROSS
    that it was indeed a fight of the ages, a battle that began in Genesis in the garden and now was being finished (Tetelastai) on the Cross, and its outcome.

    In John 8:32 we read “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free”
    WHAT WAS THIS TRUTH?

    To know THE Truth, we need to go back to the very beginning; to Genesis. To the time of  
    ADAM and EVE
    in the garden. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God (The fall of Man), God prophesied against Satan who had caused Adam and Eve to disobey Him.
    The prophesy was “I will put enmity between the seed of the woman (Jesus) and the serpent (Satan), you shall strike His heel and He will crush it’s head.”
    So, Satan knew that his doom was foretold and he could do nothing but wait.
    CAIN is BORN.

    Satan acts, thinking he is the one who has come to deliver (the seed of the woman). Satan gets Cain to kill Abel.
    God tells Cain “Sin is crouching at your door, you must master it” (Genesis 4:7)
    Adam and Eve proliferate, the earth gets filled. Satan entices people to sin until the time of
    NOAH’s FLOOD
    . God in his wrath almost destroys ALL of mankind by a flood.
    From Noah and his Son’s and their wives, the world is repopulated. Satan goes back into slumber until one day when
    MOSES IS BORN.
    Could this be the seed of the woman, the deliverer?  Satan entices Pharoah and in the birth of Moses, “BABY BOYS are KILLED”.
    Though Moses is miraculously saved, He could not be the one, since he himself sinned. Satan must be now at a little ease. Then came the
    TIME OF THE KINGS.
    Satan continues to live in the LUXURY of DECEIT for a while until one
    BETHLEHEM
    NIGHT when  he is AWAKENED from his sleep, as he hears
    FOOTSTEPS of the wise men (MAGI)
    in Herod’s court. He hurries to Herod’s palace and find’s the magi asking, “Where is he who is born the king of the Jews?”
    Satan hears the heavenly angelic choir sing and the shepherds talk about this baby boy called Jesus as the one who has come to Save and deliver God’s people.
    Knowing that the deliverer was born, he gets back to his ways of trying to kill the seed of the woman; and pulls out from his bag of evil tricks, the same plan as in the time of Moses (the mistaken deliverer) which he puts into action. There is another Slaughter of the INNOCENTS;
    ANOTHER BLOODSHED OF BABIES.
    But by divine intervention, Joseph and Mary escape with Jesus to Nazareth and hence the fulfillment of the prophecy, “He shall be called a Nazarene” (Matthew 2:23)
    30 years pass by and we see Jesus walking along the banks of a river and his harbinger John the Baptist, proclaiming
    BEHOLD THE AGNUS DEI
    , the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world and at the
    BAPTISM OF JESUS,
    Satan hears along with everyone else, the very voice of God, saying
    “BEHOLD”, THIS IS MY SON, WITH WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED.”
    Immediately after that proclamation, Satan knew who his target was and so goes to tempt Jesus when Jesus is physically weak (yet spiritually fortified) after 40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS of fasting.
    Jesus engages in the the fight of the ages as he fences with Satan using the Word of God to defend himself and deal offensive blows. In all of this Jesus did not sin nor knew no sin, and He could not be touched. This only vexed Satan even more and so he devises an evil plan and entices the religious leaders, poisoning their hearts.“The religious leaders plotted to kill Jesus” (John 11:45-53)
    Fearing this was insufficient, he wants to make sure that his plan to kill the seed of the woman wont fail again. So he poison’s a friend and disciple of Jesus, Judas Iscariot who betrays Jesus. After the
    BETRAYAL OF A FRIEND
    , Jesus is handed over to be crucified. THE FIGHT IS ON FULL SWING . JESUS IS CRUCIFIED and Satan thinks – “hah, now it is finished. I have won”.

    What Satan failed to have realized is that in all his calculations, he had not considered a critical fact into his equation. He was suddenly GUILTY OF MURDER.
    God had said. “The soul that sins shall die (Ezekiel 18) and that “ the wages of sin is death” (Romans 3:23)
    But Jesus had never sinned.  Satan had no right whatsoever to kill Jesus.

    THIS TICKED GOD BEYOND BELIEF and his emotions and actions is recorded in Habakkuk 3: 11-14
    Vs. 11: Sun and the Moon stood still in the heavens, At the glint of your flying arrows, At the lightning of your flashing spear. When Jesus died, darkness came over the land.
    Vs 12: In wrath, You strode the earth, And in your anger, you threshed the nations.
    Vs. 13: You went out to deliver your people (Jesus’ birth) To save your anointed One (Jesus on the Cross) You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness (Satan crushed) You stripped him from head to toe.
    Vs. 14: With his own weapon, you pierced his head. The cross, looks like an inverted sword, wielded into a head (skull). Interesting, isn’t it that the hill on which Jesus was crucified was shaped as a head, a skull and hence called Golgotha.
    From verse 13 of this scripture, we see that God was INFURIATED, STRIDING THE EARTH in his WRATH and ANGER and as in the time of Noah, He could have destroyed it all, if Jesus had not stepped in and INTERCEDED, saying “Father, Forgive them for they know not what they do.”

    This is the truth that Satan does not want you to know, that at the end of the faded storm, as the mist cleared, there was one hero, one champion, one victor standing , and that was the Lord Jesus Christ.

NOW YOU KNOW THE TRUTH – There is no excuse “Captivity has been set, Salvation bought for you and me. Cause Satan is defeated and Jesus is the Champion” and this TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU AND ME FREE.

“FATHER, FORGIVE US FOR WE DID NOT KNOW”, but now we do.