1. Hello listening friends, we are glad you tuned in to this program.
2. And we have been looking at a chain of events that began on Palm Sunday and ended with the resurrection.
3. And we continue in this same chain by beginning the first of seven words that Jesus spoke from the cross.
4. Every one of the seven words is very important.
5. Let's look at the first one.
6. And I want to begin by telling you that it has to do with a certain power.
7. Many people are looking for power.
8. Often they want power to get what they want in life.
9. Unfortunately, very few people know about the greatest power in the world.
10. On the surface this power that I will be talking about appears to be weakness.
11. But in reality it is the greatest power of all.
12. There are very few people who know how to appropriate or exercise this power.
13. And this power I am talking about is the power of forgiveness.
14. There are thousands of people who are walking around seething with hate.
15. There are thousands of people who are walking around bending over with bitterness.
16. There are thousands of people who are living with stewing inside with anger.
17. There are thousands of people who are walking around totally consumed with revenge.
18. There are thousands of people who are walking around exhausted from frustration in life.
19. There are people who are literally and physically sick because of anger, hate, and unforgiveness.
20. Today it is my prayer that you will be liberated and freed from the slavery of unforgiveness.
21. Today it is my prayer that you will appropriate the power of forgiveness that is totally yours if you are in Jesus Christ.
22. For we are going to see today that when our Lord was suspended between heaven and earth, on that instrument of torture, the cross.
23. He said seven things which are recorded in the Scripture.
24. Someone called it a rainbow of sorrow for if there are seven primary colors in the rainbow we have seven statements spoken from the cross.
25. The first of the seven statements is found in Luke 23:34.
26. Then Jesus said, Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.
27. Doctor Luke as he compiled the evidence about the Christ was obviously intrigued about Jesus' willingness to forgive.
28. Forgiveness was not a mark of strength in his Gentile culture.
29. Forgiveness to the dearest and the nearest for good reason just maybe was understood in the Jewish culture.
30. But forgiving unconditionally was puzzling to both Jews and Gentiles.
31. That is why Luke records the unique parables of Jesus that have to do with forgiveness.
32. Parables such as the lost coin and the lost sheep and the lost son who came back to his father.
33. To a faithful Hebrew, this should not have been a surprise.
34. It was 700 years earlier that the prophet Isaiah prophesied many things about the Messiah.
35. One of the prophesies was that the Messiah would intercede for his murderers.
36. The last verse of Isaiah 53 which is the last of ten prophesies about the cross of Christ said the following.
37. He bore the sin of many and he made intercession for the transgressors.
38. He would plead in prayer on behalf of sinners.
39. He would use his special relationship with his father to forgive his haters.
40. Here he uses the word Abba, which was never, ever used before by anyone to address God.
41. It was a word that indicated intimacy.
42. It is a word that indicates familiarity.
43. It is a word of home and heart.
44. It is a word of kinship between child and father.
45. And if Jesus can pray for those hateful, malignant, and vicious hands that nailed him to the cross, we can be sure that we can pray and intercede for anybody and we can be sure that God hears our prayers.
46. I want you to see some unique things about Christ here in this particular statement.
47. Jesus did not pray what every dying man or woman would pray, namely, Father, forgive me.
48. Anyone who stands between time and eternity thinks first of God's forgiveness for themselves.
49. But our Lord did not ask for personal forgiveness.
51. For the Scripture says that he was tempted as we are but without sin.
52. Jesus could have prayed for deliverance from dying on the cross or that God would have taken him quickly.
53. But no.
55. Because what was tying Jesus to the cross were not the nails but the undying love for you and for me.
56. Jesus did not pray, Father, avenge me.
57. If there was ever injustice done anywhere in the world, it was on that day.
58. Let me talk to you just for a minute.
59. You may think that you are not being treated fairly.
60. You may think that you are suffering injustice.
61. You may feel like saying, Oh, poor me, I don't deserve this or I don't deserve that.
62. Listen to what I am going to tell you about Jesus.
63. He is the very God of the flesh who created all the iron in the world that iron was used to nail him to the cross.
64. The very God in the flesh who created all the roses in the world, the very thorns were used to crown Him.
65. The very God in the flesh who created all the wood in the wood in the world, that very wood was used to make a cross.
66. You talk about injustice.
67. You talk about what is fair and unfair.
68. You talk about his rights to ask about being avenged.
69. You talk about his right to walk away from the cross.
70. He had every right to do that.
71. But he didn't.
72. Earlier on that day he told his men that he could call a legion of angels and they would come to deliver him.
73. He had at his disposal untold numbers of unseen spiritual powers.
74. He could have called upon them to avenge him.
75. But no he did not pray that.
76. He prayed, Father, forgive them.
77. The word forgive literally means send away from them what they have done.
78. Our Lord Jesus Christ here exercised what is his prerogative alone.
79. For even his enemies said, only God can forgive sins.
80. In fact, they nailed him to the cross because of his exercising of his prerogative to forgive sins.
81. What does this say to you and to me?
83. Jesus' prayer for forgiveness ought to fill us with confidence that our sins can be forgiven.
84. If God could forgive the cold hearts of the Roman soldiers who nailed him.
85. If God could forgive the sadistic crowd that mocked him.
86. If God could forgive a prostituted priesthood like that of Caiaphas.
87. If God could forgive all this no one who is listening to me today could say, God can't forgive me.
88. You may say, but I have murdered people with my loose tongue.
89. God could not forgive me.
90. I have committed adultery against the most tender vows that a man or a woman could make.
91. You say, God cannot forgive me.
92. Or I have been dishonest in my business and embezzled, God could not forgive me.
93. Or I had an abortion and murdered a baby in my womb, God cannot forgive me.
94. Or you could say, I have hated with pure hatred and viciousness, God cannot forgive me.
95. You could say, I have cursed God and doubted him and his power, God could not forgive me.
96. If Jesus could pray for those who were on the outer limits of sin, surely he can forgive you.
97. The other thing that Jesus wanted to do was to end the vicious cycle of hate and sin.
98. When Jesus was suspended between heaven and earth he was a magnet that drew all the hate and the viciousness and anger to himself.
99. And God said on the cross, where anger, hurt, hate, unforgiveness, and bitterness ends.
1. And that's what must be the response of all those who follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. Because Jesus when he hung on the cross said, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.
4. When Jesus said forgive them, there is no telling of how wide the circle of people that was.
5. It included the Roman soldiers.
6. It included Pilate.
7. It included Caiaphas the high priest.
8. It included Judas the betrayer.
9. It included the jeering mob.
10. It included all.
11. There is no limit to the circle that Jesus' prayer included.
12. It includes you and it includes me.
13. Father forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.
14. Well some of you may be saying, well wait a minute, what do you mean that they did not know what they were doing.
15. Judas knew that he was betraying the best friend that he ever had.
16. Caiaphas knew that he bribed false witnesses to testify against Jesus.
17. Pilate confessed with his own lips, I find no fault in this man.
18. The mob knew that they were screaming at a righteous man.
19. They knew what they were doing.
20. O, but Jesus was saying on the deepest level they did not know what they were doing.
21. They did not understand the enormity of what they were doing.
22. They did not understand the significance of what they were doing.
23. They did not know that the cross which stood as a sign of torture was going to become a sign of peace and victory.
24. They did not know that the horrors of what they were doing was going to transform millions of lives thousands of institutions and tens of nations.
25. They did not know what they were doing.
26. The third thing is this,
27. The cross was our Lord's practice of what he was preaching.
28. If anyone would come to me and say,
29. You don't practice all that you preach.
30. I would have to bow my head in shame and say you are right.
31. I can preach better than practice, but not so with Jesus.
32. Jesus said forgive those who cross you and double cross you and then he got up on the cross and did it.
33. Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.
34. If our Lord had taught forgiveness then he got up on the cross and he cursed, everything that he taught would have been forgotten.
35. I know it is difficult for us to forgive others.
36. But that's what God is expecting of us.
37. The forgiving spirit is the very basic spirit of the Christian man and the Christian woman.
38. Our Lord lived as good as he preached.
39. What Jesus did on the cross was the beginning of what he has been doing ever since.
40. Even now, he is making intercessions for the believers.
41. Even now he is our advocate with the Father.
42. Even now he is still forgiving again and again.
43. My listening friend, I want to ask you something.
44. What about your forgiving spirit?
45. How is it in your forgiving department?
46. Some men think that forgiving others makes them weak.
47. But that's not true.
48. Forgiving gives you power that is indescribable and is unseen.
49. Forgiving gives you freedom that is truly liberating.
50. When you refuse to forgive, you become a slave of the person that you refuse to forgive.
51. That person occupies your hateful thoughts.
52. That person dominates your creative energies.
53. That person enslaves your actions.
54. Now there are some people who pretend to forgive but have more hatred.
55. I heard about a woman who hated one of her relatives so much.
56. And when people tried to get her to forgive them, she said the following:
57. She said, o-Kay, I will forgive them, I used to say that I would never go to their funeral, now I'll be glad to go to their funeral,
58. Now that is not forgiveness,
59. The way to begin to be liberated is to regularly and deliberately pray for the person who is the object of your hate,
60. And if you cannot forgive them, ask God to forgive them through you,
61. God can give you the power to forgive if you ask him,
62. It is my prayer that each of you become a forgiving person,
63. Until next time, I wish you God's richest blessing,