Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The First Word from the Cross

Lent mid-week 2
13 March 2019

A forgiving word – Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them

1st Word - "The Word of Intercession

 As He began His passion knowing all that was going to take place; knowing all that would be required of Him Jesus took the time to pray. It is a simple prayer yet a profound petition. It gives us an overall picture of what this Jesus is all about. Jesus - on the cross suspended between earth and heaven prays: "Father forgive them for they know not what they do"

1. The reason for this prayer is obvious.

A. It tells why He was dying. He is dying for man who is blind to his sin. In ignorance man falls to the wayside and follows a different road.

B. This prayer reveals Jesus' character. The ruthless world says: " Don't get mad - get even!" The attitude of this present age says, "divide and conquer" "to the victor comes the spoils" "An eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth." Jesus responds by saying: "Father forgive them!"

C. This prayer becomes a perfect example for Jesus' followers - His disciples. As the Savior has forgiven so we too forgive. A student is under his master and taught by Him. As the Savior has so taught us to forgive what else can we do but forgive?

D. Jesus prays this pray to fulfill prophecy. As He prays for and asks for His accusers' pardon the events once predicted of old are beginning to take shape. God is acting - God is moving.

2. Who are the objects of this first prayer from the cross?

A. First there are the soldiers who nailed Him there. Do they recognize Jesus to be the Savior, the world's redeemer? Or do they see Him as one of many upstarts among them? Do they simply see Him as one who is worthless? It does not matter what they thing of Him. He prays for them - regardless - regardless of whom they were, regardless of where they had been, regardless of what they had done.

B. Then there are those who condemned Him to be nailed there. "It is necessary that one man die for the sake of the country". That's how the High Priest and the leadership sized things up. Little did they know they were speaking prophetically. His death is sufficient for all.

C. The Savior prays for all who have in any way contributed to the load of sin, which brought Him to the cross. The Savior, as He prays offers up this request to the Father for you and for me. All who are in need of the Savior's mercy are included in this petition. How good it was of the Savior to pray for you.

Transition: Thus the Savior offered up a prayer as the first word from the cross. How was that prayer answered?

3. Jesus prayer was answered in three specific ways.

A. First, the soldiers and the crowd were spared then and there. The Lord's visitation was curtailed and halted. Jesus had told Peter in the garden "are not 10,000 legion of angels at My disposal? Yet all this must be done that the Scriptures may be fulfilled".

B. The city was give 40 years of grace to receive the great message of the cross and empty tomb. When Jesus rose from the dead appeared to His disciples and ascended the early disciples didn't run off to Athens or Rome. They went right back to the very city where Jesus was crucified. Until Jerusalem was destroyed in the year 70 AD the inhabitants of that city had the very eyewitnesses of the resurrection living in their neighborhoods.

C. This prayer was answered as all people have been forgiven - God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son - Now, people must simply receive this forgiveness, which has already been provided. Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. "Whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life."

On the cross, suspended between earth and heaven the Savior prayed for you - Father forgive them for they know not what they do.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

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