Did Jesus Forgive Those Who Crucified Him

Why did Jesus say “Father, forgive them” on the cross?

QuestionAnswer Those words of Jesus are recorded in Luke 23:34: “Father, forgive them, for they do not understand what they are doing.” While hanging on the cross, Jesus glanced down at the sight below him, which must have been agonizing to Him. It is said that the Roman soldiers were gambling for His garments (John 19:23–24); that criminals on either side of Him on the cross were reviling Him (Matthew 27:44); that the religious authorities were ridiculing Him (Matthew 27:41–43); and that the mob was blaspheming Him (Matthew 27:41–43).

Jesus prayed for them while surrounded by this most worthless group of people.

He pleaded with the Father to pardon the robbers who mocked Him while they hung on the cross.

When Jesus was confronted by the furious multitude that had ridiculed Him and advocated for His execution in Mark 15:29–30, He prayed for forgiveness.

It does imply that Jesus was prepared to forgive them—in fact, forgiveness was the very reason He was crucified in the first place.

Jesus interceded on behalf of sinners from the cross.

Father, forgive them,” Jesus pleaded, putting into effect the teaching He had taught in the Sermon on the Mount: “You have heard that it was stated, ‘Love your friend and hate your adversary.'” (Matthew 5:43-48) Yet Jesus urged his followers to “love their enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43–44).

  1. In addition to Jesus’ readiness to forgive His tormentors, the fact that they were completely unaware of what they were doing helps to explain His willingness to forgive them (Luke 23:34).
  2. The troops had no ill will toward Him on a personal level.
  3. This was the standard procedure for dealing with condemned prisoners, and they thought He had earned it wholeheartedly.
  4. The crowd was completely oblivious to who they were attempting to destroy.
  5. The prayer of Jesus to the Father “Father, forgive them” revealed His infinite mercy; He still loved them and would forgive them if only they would humble themselves and repent (Matthew 18:14; 2 Peter 3:9).
  6. (See Mark 15:39.) One of the twothievescrucified with Jesus put his trust in Christ, who promised him eternal life (Luke 23:39–43), and he was executed.
  7. Three thousand persons in Jerusalem were rescued in one day a little over a month later, when the church was officially established (Acts 2:41).
  8. Jesus paid the punishment for the crimes that we commit in our ignorance, as well as for the sins that we do on purpose, by his death and resurrection.

When we are reborn, we, too, become a response to Jesus’ plea, “Father, forgive them,” because we have been forgiven. Questions about Luke (return to top of page) On the crucifixion, why did Jesus say, “Father, forgive them?” (Father, forgive them?)

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Why Did Jesus Say, ‘Father, Forgive Them’?

“Father, forgive them, for they are unaware of what they are doing,” states the ESV version of Luke 23:34. According to the Gospel of Luke, these were the first of our Lord’s last words said while hanging on the cross. An odd answer to the situation at hand, as Jesus, an innocent man (1 Peter 2:22), was condemned to death by hanging on a Roman cross for his crimes. It was a mode of death that historians can only describe as “the most humiliating, horrible, and awful way to die,” according to their findings.

  • With the arrival of these words of sympathy and pity in the ears of Jesus’ own executioners – Roman soldiers below who were unfazed by the surrounding bodies, which had been gravely scarred and exposed — the impact of this passage is heightened.
  • His own kinsmen, who had just completed thrashing Him, taunting Him, and spitting in His face before giving Him over to the Roman guard, were the ones who had beaten Him.
  • “Crucify Him!” they insisted, despite the evidence.
  • He goes on to remark that their insistence was due to their ignorance (Acts 3:17).

Why Did Jesus Say, ‘Father, Forgive Them’?

After learning more about the procedure of ancient Roman crucifixion, it is astonishing to imagine that the world’s Greatest Defender was never discovered to be defending his own innocence or even retaliating against His worthy accusers with a vengeance. It was instead found that the One who had come to save, having been abandoned by God at this very time (Mark 15:34), was interceding for the souls who had placed Him there, imploring with them not to be abandoned as well. But why is this so? Only by looking at the surrounding context of Scripture can we discern that there are several reasons why Jesus would recite a pleading prayer of forgiveness in the manner in which he did.

It’s Who He Is

Jesus, who was born of God and clothed in human form, was without the sin nature that plagued mankind (Luke 1:35). He could not and did not live within the bonds of resentment, bitterness, hatred, or even self-centeredness as a result of His truly holy nature, which existed within the confines of His own humanity. This was a side effect of His truly holy nature, which existed within the confines of His own humanity. His prayer was the prayer of a free man, someone who isn’t dominated by a sin-filled and emotionally charged reaction that comes to him without his knowledge.

As a result, it was only appropriate that we should have a high priest who was spotless, blameless, and unblemished, who was isolated from sinners and raised above the skies (Hebrews 7:26).

It’s What He Does

Jesus, who is sinless and free from the consequences of sin, is eternally an advocate for sinners (1 John 2:1), constantly present to intercede on their behalf (Hebrews 7:25). And, as the one and only mediator between God and humanity, it is only natural that Jesus should do precisely that, by praying for those who have transgressed against God (1 Timothy 2:5). I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me,” says the apostle Paul (John 6:38).

It’s Why He Came

Jesus came as a man with a mission, one of which was to remove the justification of ignorance from society (Acts 17:30). He also came knowing that He would suffer (Acts 3:18) and that He would have to die for those who were still sinners (see John 3:16-17). (Romans 5:8). What is the explanation behind this? Because it was only His blood that could satisfy the requirements for receiving God’s everlasting forgiveness and reconciliation (1 John 4:9-10). This was the type of forgiveness that Jesus was praying for from the cross – the forgiveness of all who believe in him.

Not only for those who stood before Him on that particular day, but for the entire world (1 John 2:2).

It’s What God’s People Were Waiting For

This prayer, in which Jesus interceded for His transgressors, was a fulfillment of an Old Testament prophesy that had been promised by the prophet Isaiah hundreds of years before. This prayer, particularly from the cross, would have served as a confirmation of His identity to people who had been looking forward to the coming of their beloved messiah, as predicted by the prophets of God. We do this because, while he poured out his soul to death and was classed among the transgressors, he bore the sin of many and intercedes on their behalf (Isaiah 53:12).

It’s What He Taught

The prayer of Jesus is an example of our Lord putting into practice what He preached. No lesson was imparted to anybody by Him that He was not also prepared to put into practice himself. Some of Christ’s teachings that we see reflected in His prayer include the importance of loving your adversaries and praying for those who have abused you, among other things (Luke 6:27-28). In addition, we should always pray for that one (Luke 18:1). These are themes that we find repeated throughout the New Testament, and they are plainly demonstrated when Christ prayed in the face of His foes, as well as the presence of death itself.

It’s the Church’s Example to Follow

In Ephesians 5:1, Paul exhorts the members of the Church of Ephesus to follow in the footsteps of God. While Peter’s appeal to Christians is to be holy in all that they do, “just as he who called us is holy,” the phrase “just as he who called us is holy” might be confusing (1 Peter 1:15). Christians, of course, do not live this out on their own, but rather by the power of regeneration, sanctification, and reliance on the Holy Spirit. It is this kind of fruit that can be observed immediately in the early church’s history.

  • It is just a few chapters later that Stephen’s narrative concludes, as he utters his last, yet familiar, words from beneath the crushing weight of rocks: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:59-60).
  • It looks like a road that has previously been traveled has been made simpler to follow.
  • No one, beloved, was more aware of the happiness that had been prepared for Him than He who had come from heaven.
  • First and foremost, because of who He is and what He has come to do, but also because His Church has been called and equipped to do the same thing.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. I have made known to you all I have heard from my Father.” The fact is that you did not pick me; rather, I chose and appointed you, so that you may go and bear fruit and that your fruit might endure” (John 15:12-16).

Jesus’ Ministry Opened and Closed with Prayed

Praying had marked the beginning of his public ministry (Luke 3:21), and here we find him concluding it with prayer. He has, without a doubt, set an example for us! Due to the nails inflicted on his hands and feet, He would no longer have the ability minister to the sick; He would no longer be able to transport himself on missions of mercy because his feet were nailed to the cruel tree; He would no longer be able to instruct the apostles because they had abandoned Him and fled. So, what does He do to keep himself occupied?

  1. What an important lesson for us to learn.
  2. If Christ prayed for his murderers, certainly we have reason to be encouraged to pray for the absolute worst of sinners right now!
  3. If continuing to pray for that guy, that lady, or that wayward kid of yours seems like an unnecessary waste of time, consider this: Does their situation appear to be becoming more bleak with each passing day?
  4. That person for whom you have prayed for so long may have fallen prey to one of the Satanic cults of the day, or he may have become an outspoken atheist, in other words, a clear adversary of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  5. Christ prayed for those who opposed him.
  6. Another viewpoint on Christ’s prayer for us is worth mentioning.
  7. This prayer of Christ on the cross for his enemies was greeted with a clear and unequivocal response.
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This conclusion is based on Acts 3:17, where the apostle Peter states, “And now, brethren, I know that you behaved in ignorance, as did likewise your rulers,” which I believe to be correct.

Instead of Peter’s oratory skills, the Savior’s prayer was the driving force behind the event.

Pink’s The Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross, 1.

Further reading may be found at: Exactly what is the significance of Jesus’ final words said on the cross?

Who Is to Blame for the Death of Jesus?

iStock/Getty Images Plus is credited with this image.

With the aid of God’s continuous grace, she now enjoys assisting others in better understanding their Bibles while also serving as a champion for biblical church integrity.

As a mother of three and a wife of 13 years, she posts less frequently than she would like, but she does offer Scriptural insights, encouraging truth, resources, and musings more frequently at Beloved Warrior, where she also shares a variety of thoughts.

Why did Jesus pray ‘Father, forgive them’ from the cross?

Jesus spoke multiple times during His crucifixion. The first of His comments is reported in Luke 23:34: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Jesus, in praying “Father, forgive them” from the cross, was implementing what He preached. In Matthew 5:43–44, Jesus had stated, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You should love your friend and hate your adversary.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Jesus did not lash out in fury against His tormentors, but He gave us an example of how we should respond to adversity.

  • “If when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a pleasant thing in the face of God.
  • Jesus’ prayer “Father, forgive them” created a lasting influence on His disciples.
  • “And while they were stoning Stephen, he screamed out, ‘Lord Jesus, accept my spirit.’ And dropping to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this fault against them.’ And when he had spoken this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:59–60).
  • “Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is declared to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:38–39).
  • Rather than seek for pardon for Himself, He requests forgiveness for the ones responsible for His death.
  • And Jesus replied, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ And they cast lots to divide his clothing.” The immediate context might suggest that Jesus’s statement “they know not what they do” refers to the Roman soldiers who were simply carrying out orders.
  • For all they knew, He really was a criminal like the thieves on either side of Him.
  • But the ignorance Jesus mentions covers more than the soldiers on execution duty that day.
  • They certainly showed malice in turning Jesus over to Pilate, but they did not know that Jesus was the Messiah.
  • And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed” (Acts 13:27–28, emphasis added).
  • Peter says, “And now, brothers,I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers.

Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.

  1. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you.
  2. Showing the great grace and mercy of God, Jesus prayed that those who were responsible for His crucifixion would be able to be forgiven.
  3. Among the Jewish leaders, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea followed Christ (John 19:38–40).
  4. (Luke 23:47).
  5. And the timing of the prayer is as startling as the content.

Not in cold blood did the Saviour pray, after he had forgotten the injury, and could the more easily forgive it, but while the first red drops of blood were spurting on the hands which drove the nails; while yet the hammer was bestained with crimson gore, his blessed mouth poured out the fresh warm prayer, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do'” (from Sermon No.

897, October 24, 1869, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in Newington, London).

What are the last seven sayings of Christ and what do they mean? Who is responsible for Jesus Christ’s death? What does it mean that Jesus took our place? Is the death of Jesus Christ or His resurrection more important? Return to the page: The Truth About Jesus Christ.

Didn’t Jesus Forgive Unconditionally on the Cross?

Chris Brauns has written a book titled Unpacking Forgiveness. “data-image-caption=”” data-image-caption=”” data-medium-file=”ssl=1″ data-medium-file=”ssl=1″ The ssl attribute is set to 1. data-large-file=” ssl=1″ src=” alt=” In order to discover answers to deep hurts and difficult concerns, we must be familiar with forgiveness quotes. The size of the image is 286 pixels wide and 441 pixels high.” srcset=” ssl=1 300w,ssl=1 194w” sizes=”(max-width: 286px) 100vw, 286px” srcset=” ssl=1 300w,ssl=1 194w” data-recalc-dims=”1″> Some will respond, “Isn’t it true that Jesus forgave those who crucified him?” whenever the argument is made that forgiveness should be preceded by repentance.

  1. And when they arrived to the location known as The Skull, they nailed him to the cross beside two other convicts, one on his right and one on his left, and hung him from the cross.
  2. If you pay close attention to this text, you will notice that this is the situation.
  3. In the event that they had already received forgiveness, such a prayer would have been needless.
  4. We know from other places in the Bible that Jesus has the ability to forgive sins.
  5. Take note, also, that on the cross, in precisely the same setting in which Jesus pleaded for the forgiveness of his killers, Jesus actually grants forgiveness to someone else!
  6. “Today you will be with me in heaven,” Jesus said shortly after forgiving him.
  7. He forgiven him and moved on.

Then, falling to his knees, he cried out in a loud voice to God, “Lord, please do not hold this transgression against them.” And it was only after he had said this that he fell asleep.

Paul, who had been standing close and carrying the clothing of those who had stoned Stephen, was subsequently protected by the authorities.

On the way to Damascus, Paul was not forgiven until he repented of his sins.

Another point of contention is that Jesus does not appear to list repentance as a need for forgiveness elsewhere in the Bible (Matthew 6:12,14-15; 18:21-22).

The condition, on the other hand, is implicit.

Although Christ does not clearly state this in Matthew 6, we may infer it from other texts that God’s forgiveness is predicated on our repentance.

Matthew 18:21-22 is the only passage in the Bible where Jesus does not clearly state that repentance is a need for forgiveness.

Throughout Jesus’ teaching on church discipline in Matthew 18:15-20, as well as in the narrative that follows in Matthew 18:23-35, he discusses scenarios in which people should be forgiven when they repent of their sins.

This reality was summarized by the famous Reformed theologian John Murray as follows: To forgive is a specific act that we conduct upon the fulfillment of particular requirements.

When we fail to see the significance of forgiveness, we deprive ourselves of a great deal and damage the relationships that we should maintain with our brothers and sisters.

All those who would repent and accept Him as their Lord and Savior were being interceded for by the Lord.

People who refuse to repent and turn away from their sins will never receive divine forgiveness.

People who repented and sought forgiveness, like the centurion, or the thief on the cross, or priests, or the people in the crowd—all of whom subsequently embraced Him—would discover bountiful compassion in response to Christ’s petition on their behalf in response to Christ’s prayer.

He said a silent prayer for their sakes (cf.John 11:42).

The forgiveness that Christ prayed for is available to anybody who asks for it (Revelation 22:17).

The father of the prodigal son is a striking illustration of God’s readiness to forgive.

He promises that those who repent of their sins will be lavished with mercy and pardon.

“Stephen’s prayer for his enemies could only be answered through their repentance, as indeed it was in the case of Saul,” writes John Murray in The Collected Writings of John Murray (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1982), p.

191. “Stephen’s prayer for his enemies could only be answered through their repentance, as indeed it was in the case of Saul.” Kidner (D. Kidner, vol. 1 Ps, page 30).

Did Jesus Ask God to Forgive Those Who Killed Him?

Then, while he hung on the cross, Jesus pleaded with the Father: “Father, pardon them since they do not understand what they are doing” (Lk 23.34 NRSV). A large majority of Christians have held that Jesus was pleading with God to pardon everyone involved in his judgment and death, regardless of whether or not they had confessed their guilt. Some would even include Judas in his betrayal of Jesus in this prayer. However, this reading fails to grasp the significance of Jesus’ comments in the context of Luke’s gospel.

  • Luke is the only one who has documented this precise remark on forgiveness.
  • The two most important Greek New Testaments demonstrate that there is considerable skepticism regarding the historical validity of this book.
  • The letter C indicates that “there is a significant degree of question” as to whether or not this material is authentic or not.
  • The following English Bible versions include this passage but place it in brackets and/or include a footnote warning readers that it is missing from certain Greek manuscripts: NIV, RSV, NRSV, NEB, NASB, and ESV (National Geographic Society).
  • I believe some scribal copyists removed it because they believed, as most people do, that this language meant Jesus requested God to pardon everyone who was engaged in his killing, and they correctly determined that this did not make biblical sense.
  • The Israelites in fact revolted again, forcing the Romans to destroy the temple at Jerusalem a generation later, in CE 70, and ultimately leading to the disintegration of the nation of Israel five hundred and thirty-five years later, in CE 135.
  • First and foremost, God’s need that people repent of their transgressions against him is a fundamental premise of his justice and, consequently, of his forgiveness.
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When Jesus said this, he was implying that both Caiaphas and Pilate were responsible for Jesus’ judgment and impending execution, but that Caiaphas was more responsible than Pilate.

Third, all three synoptists claim that Jesus delivered a parable shortly after arriving in Jerusalem for Passion Week, which enraged the Jewish religious authorities.

After planting a vineyard, fencing it in, excavating a pit for the wine press, and constructing a watchtower, a man left it to renters while traveling to another nation.

3 But they apprehended him, beaten him, and sent him away empty-handed despite their efforts.

5 Then he dispatched another, and they assassinated him as well.

6 He had one more child, a loving son, to look after.

Eighth, they apprehended and murdered him, after which they cast him out of the vineyard.

He will come and destroy the tenants, after which he will transfer ownership of the vineyard to others.

It is recorded in Matthew, but Jesus responds by asking, “When the owner of the vineyard comes, what will be his treatment of those tenants?” – (Matthew 21:40) “He will send those wrtches to a painful death and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will provide him with the product at harvest time,” the villagers said (v.

  1. “The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and handed to a people who produces the fruits of the kingdom,” Jesus stated, according to Matthew (v.
  2. Consequently, according to Matthew, Jesus was referring to God the Father as the vineyard’s owner, the vineyard as the kingdom given to Israel as the vineyard, the vineyard as the owner’s son as Jesus, and the tenants as the religious rulers of Jerusalem.
  3. This was not a prediction made by Jesus for the first time.
  4. Because Israel’s idolatry had caused God to be envious of them, Moses spoke on God’s behalf, saying, “My anger will be aroused against them on that day.” I shall abandon them and keep my face hidden from them;.
  5. The fourth point to note is that during Passion Week, Jesus pronounces seven miseries of judgment on Israel’s scribes and Pharisees, after which he says, “Truly I tell you, all of this will fall upon this generation” (Matt 23.36).
  6. How many times have I wished to bring your children beneath my wings, as a hen collects her brood under her wings, yet you have refused to cooperate!
  7. 37-38).

According to tradition, Jesus led his followers up to the Mount of Olives shortly after that.


If, as most academics believe, Jesus died in CE 30, the Romans demolished the temple precisely forty years later, in CE 70, according to historical records.

For many decades afterward, Christians correctly asserted that everything had happened as a result of God’s punishment for the Jews’ treatment of Jesus.

Some even claimed that they were not among them.

27:20-21; Mark 15.11-15; 23:18-25); (3) the Apostle Peter’s sermons in Acts are strong indictments against the majority of Jews who attended, which many implicitly admitted and believed what Peter preached.

In doing so, he was enabled by the Holy Spirit of the Almighty God.

3.13-15, 19; 7.51-52). It is possible that God had not forgiven the people who killed Jesus because Peter told them to repent. As an example, here is what Peter preached largely to big audiences, but also to religious leaders from the Sanhedrin, who convicted Jesus and ordered his execution:

  • The Bible describes Jesus as “this man,. whom you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law,” i.e., Gentiles (Ac 2.23)
  • “this Jesus whom you crucified” (v. 36)
  • “you Israelites,. Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate” (Ac 3.12-13)
  • “you killed the Author of life” (v. 15)
  • “Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified” (5.30)

On the sixth, Stephen, the first Christian martyr, preached right before he was stoned to death, proclaiming, “You stiff-necked people uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are forever opposing the Holy Spirit, just as your forefathers used to do. They assassinated those who foretold the arrival of the Righteous One, and now you have turned against him and murdered him” (Ac 7.51-52). This is a scathing indictment! “But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, with Jesus standing at God’s right hand,” the author of Luke explains.


After all, the synoptic gospels are unequivocal in their assertion that the Sanhedrin–the council of seventy religious leaders in Jerusalem–with Caiaphas as its high priest, condemned Jesus as a blasphemer worthy of death, brought him before Pilate, and pressured Pilate to execute Jesus as a result of their accusations against the religious leaders (Mark 15.14-15; Luke 23.4, 14, 22; John 18.38, 19.4, 6, 12, 15).

  • But why do we have to condemn the people as well?
  • Elders were older tribal leaders, and many of them were members of the Sanhedrin (the Jewish religious council) (Mt 26.57; 27.1; Mk 14.53; 15.1; Lk 22.66).
  • Furthermore, Matthew informs us that “Pilate realized that he couldn’t do anything and that, instead, a riot was brewing” (Mt 27.24).
  • Furthermore, according to Matthew, Pilate then performed a custom of exonerating himself of all guilt after that.
  • As a result, he freed Barabbas in exchange for them, and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified” (Mt 27.24-26).
  • But they have no good reason for so concluding other than that only Matthew reports it.
  • Then he says they, that is, the soldiers, “crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.

(Lk 23.33-34).

By doing so, they take this saying of Jesus out of its context.

So, understanding the context of Luke 23.34, Luke means that Jesus prayed for God to forgive only those four soldiers who were doing their job.

They were Gentiles, not Jews.

On the other hand, the Sanhedrin knew quite well what it was doing.

And the multitudes knew pretty well what they were doing in calling for Barabbas to be given to them and for Jesus to be crucified.

27.20; Mark 15.11). (Matt. 27.20; Mark 15.11). So, it should be concluded that Jesus did not ask God to forgive all those responsible for his death, but only the soldiers who nailed him to the cross. For, they were only following orders and therefore did not know what they were doing.

Why did Jesus say Father, forgive them?

What was Jesus thinking when he said, “Father, pardon them because they know not what they do.” as he was hanging on the cross? The reason why Jesus said “Father forgive them.” must be understood before we can answer the questions about how and why he came to earth in the first place. One of the primary reasons (among many) that Jesus came to Earth in the flesh was so that all of mankind may have their sins washed away and have the opportunity to be at one with Him and the Father in heaven.

  • Even though they were aware of all the predictions concerning the Savior, the Jewish leaders who executed Jesus were oblivious to the reality of who He truly was.
  • Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane is a biblical figure.
  • In this case, what was illegal was that the Jews held the trial at night with fictitious witnesses, a “kangaroo court,” if you will, since they were afraid of the general public.
  • And when they arrived to the location known as Calvary (also known as Golgotha or the site of the skull), they executed Him there.
  • The disciples begged God the Father to pardon them for their guilt since they had been tricked and did not comprehend what they were doing while they were murdering him.
  • When that time comes, repentance will be offered to the world.
  • The fulfillment of this prophesy occurred in 70 A.D., when Roman armies captured the city, devastated it, and burnt down the Temple of Zeus.

In order for every knee to bow at the name of Jesus, every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father; therefore, God (the Father) has also highly exalted Him and bestowed upon Him a name that is above every name; that at the name of Jesus, all knees should bow, of beings in heaven and on earth and under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9 – 11).

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It is written in the eleventh chapter of Romans that the Apostle Paul declares that God will not reject or put away His people (Israelites and Jews) whom He has predestined in the end.

May it never come to that!

God did not turn His back on His people, who He had foreknew.

Those who killed Christ will have their spiritual blindness removed from their hearts at what the Bible refers to as the second resurrection, and they will be given the opportunity to repent.

Jesus’ Incredible Request on the Cross: “Father, Forgive Them”

As he recounts the historical events surrounding the crucifixion, Luke provides us with several opportunities to realize that Jesus is the Christ who saves us. It might occur when we see Jesus’ crucifixion and realize that he has been pierced as a result of our sins. It may happen if we witness him dangling between two robbers and realize that he is among those who have transgressed against the law. It might occur when we see him naked and despised, or it could occur when we see the symbol proclaiming his kingdom, among other things.

The image is courtesy of Getty Images/Tinnakorn Jorruang.

Why Does Jesus Say “Father Forgive Them”?

When he says these words, King Jesus expresses his compassion and indicates that he is in the business of forgiving sinners. During the time when the King of the Jews extends his royal pardon, he provides the most visible demonstration of his divine and redeeming mercy. We frequently say that it is human to make mistakes, but that it is divine to forgive. As a result, there is heavenly forgiveness. The Savior reveals the forgiveness that he was dying to provide in crucifiedlove. Interestingly, it appears that these remarks were said at the exact moment that the soldiers were nailing Jesus to the crucifixion.

  1. There had never been such agony as when physical and spiritual evil conspired against Jesus at the same time in such a horrific way.
  2. Because of the immediate shock of the crucifixion, he had become immobile and shivering.
  3. And a spiritual terror of far greater proportion drew in on him: he would soon become sin.” It was at this very moment that Jesus begged for the forgiveness of his enemies, exactly as the nails were piercing his hands and feet and the cross was put into the earth.
  4. C.
  5. This is a fascinating fact in and of itself.
  6. Given that Jesus was always in prayer, this was his natural reaction when faced with adversity, as it should be ours when faced with adversity.

Did the Romans Really Not Know What They Were Doing?

On the precise scope of this intercession, there has been a great deal of debate among religious leaders. Who was it that Jesus was praying for? Was his petition just addressed to the Roman troops, or did it also include the Jewish priests as signatories? When he murmured “Forgivethem,” was he praying for forgiveness only for those who were there when he was crucified, or was he pleading for forgiveness for everyone whose sins had condemned him to death? Is this forgiveness limited to crimes committed in ignorance, or does it extend to sins committed with full knowledge and with a malicious purpose as well?

  1. Even though they were merely following instructions and had no idea that they were murdering the Son of God (Acts 3:17; 1 Cor.
  2. 2:8).
  3. It is true that these men were completely unaware of the gravity of their actions.
  4. Jesus took compassion on them because of their relative ignorance, and he prayed for the forgiveness of their wrongdoing.
  5. However, it did imply that God would not hold this specific sin against them as a result of their actions.
  6. However, Jesus begged for their forgiveness, and through faith, they were able to be forgiven for this as well as for all of their sins.
  7. In addition, there were the priests present—the religious leaders who had pressured and hounded Jesus to the point of death.
  8. As a result, the Savior interceded for both the priests and the soldiers.
  9. If Jesus was only praying for the people who crucified him, it would still offer us reason to hope for our own forgiveness since we are seeing the heart of God’s kindness in this scene.
  10. If Jesus was willing for the Father to forgive the same men who murdered him, then what sinner is beyond the grasp of the Father’s forgiveness and grace?
  11. When his opponents cried out, “Crucify!” Jesus responded with the words, “Forgive.” Regardless of what we have done, Jesus is prepared to forgive anyone—including individuals like us—as long as we come to him in faith and repent.

Credit for the image goes to Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain Image/Antonio Ciseri on the Internet Archive.

Why Do We All Need God’s Forgiveness?

This may explain why Jesus left his prayer so open-ended: he intended to extend an invitation to everyone who heard his words to come forward and receive forgiveness from him and his Father. Every one of us may tailor his generic appeal to our own specific need for forgiveness, because it was broad enough to include everyone. Charles Spurgeon praised this prayer for its “indistinctness,” stating that it was one of his favorites. In other words, Jesus prayed for “them” without explicitly specifying who exactly was included in the phrase “them.” As a result, even while this prayer definitely refers directly to the men who executed Jesus, it should not be restricted to their use in its application in the first place.

  1. With the word ‘them’ in mind, Spurgeon observed, “I feel as though I can crawl now inside that pronoun “them.” Is it possible for you to go in there?
  2. They have listened to Jesus’ petition and have dared to believe that God would show them mercy as a result of it.
  3. Maybe he did this because he heard Jesus pray for the forgiveness of his enemies.
  4. The Savior’s petition was beginning to be heard and fulfilled.
  5. In the book of Acts, we are told that “a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith,” according to Luke (Acts 6:7).
  6. Furthermore, Jesus has been reciting this prayer ever since, interceding on their behalf for the people he killed in order to save them.
  7. He is praying from the throne in the same manner in which he prayed from the crucifixion on Good Friday.
  8. 7:25).
  9. Photograph courtesy of Getty Images/Sinenkiy

What Makes This Verse So Powerful?

It has great power because it is addressed to the Father, who is none other than God Almighty, the first Person of the Trinity and the source of all creation. As a result of the prayer being prayed by the Chosen One, Jesus the Son, the Christ of God, it has tremendous power. In other words, we are seeing a dialogue that takes place inside the holy and everlasting Trinity. Is it possible that when the Son prays to the Father, his plea will not get an answer? When Jesus himself stated that the Father “always hears the Son,” it was a powerful statement (John 11:42).

  • Consider the fact that this prayer was made from the cross, implying that when Jesus uttered it, he was establishing the ground for our forgiveness on his own behalf.
  • During his time on the crucifixion, Jesus was praying—on the exact cross where he was bleeding and dying under the curse of God’s anger, experiencing the righteous punishment that our crimes deserved.
  • The fact that the priests and soldiers were insulting Jesus at that same moment was a tragic irony, to say the least.
  • “What kind of ruler would be assassinated?” they wondered.
  • According to their reasoning, Jesus could not rescue himself from this disgraceful death, and thus could not save anybody else either.
  • Even if some persons despised his death, it was this death that enabled him to pray with such authority.
  • His death is a sacrifice for our sins.
  • Certainly, the forgiveness of sins is at the heart of what the cross is all about.

This was demonstrated by Jesus’ prayer, “Father, forgive,” during his last hours on earth. Because of his kingly intervention and the costly price of his royal blood, we have been rescued from our perilous situation. Photograph courtesy of Getty Images/ipopba

As We Were Forgiven…

The King who died for us on the cross—the King who was accused of being a criminal, stripped of all his garments, and insulted by his enemies—will grant us the same royal pardon if we believe in him and accept his offer of forgiveness. We’ll be pardoned, believe me. The gift of our own forgiveness drive us to extend forgiveness to others, and it is our responsibility to reflect his kindness in our own lives. The teachings of Jesus include the following: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt.

In addition to this, he demonstrated his point by reciting his first prayer from the cross: “Father, pardon.” Once we have received forgiveness for ourselves, we may then ask for forgiveness for others, including our fiercest adversaries.

Is there somebody who has wronged or deceived you in some manner?

As Christians, the first and most important responsibility we have toward our adversaries is to love them by interceding for them.


In Kent Hughes’ Luke: That You May Know the Truth, 2 vols., Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Publishing, 1998), 2:378 is used as an example. JC Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Luke (first published in 1858; reprinted in Cambridge by James Clarke in 1976), page 467. “Christ’s Plea for Ignorant Sinners,” Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit (Pasadena, TX: Pilgrim, n.d.), 38:318. Charles Spurgeon, “Christ’s Plea for Ignorant Sinners,” Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit (Pasadena, TX: Pilgrim, n.d.), 38:318.

Can God’s Forgiveness Be Extinctionally Broad?

He is a writer, editor, and public speaker who resides in the lovely state of Oregon.

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