Father, forgive them
In the days leading up to his death, Jesus began to speak openly of what was to come, including at the Passover meal with his friends as their The Last Supper. It was at this meal that was designed to remember God's saving work for the nation of Israel in the Exodus, that Jesus told his disciples that his body would be broken and his blood would be spilt for the salvation of sinners. It was during this last supper that Satan entered Judas, who would ultimately betray Jesus. After Judas had left the meal, Jesus went to The Garden of Gethsemane, where he spent a sleepless night in agony praying to His Father. The disciples, who were supposed to be praying for Jesus, failed him by continually falling asleep instead of interceding for Him. The weight of His impending crucifixion lead Jesus to sweat drops of blood. After this exhausting sleepless night, Judas arrived in the garden with soldiers and betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Jesus was then arrested and taken through a series of Three Trials, where contradicting false witnesses were brought forward to offer false testimony. Despite the false charges, Jesus was sentenced to be murdered by crucifixion. On the way to the Cross Jesus endured ridicule, beatings, and scourging. Scourging, was such a torturous event that many people died from it without even making it to their cross. Jesus then had a crown of thorns pressed into his head as onlookers mocked him as "King of the Jews." He was then forced to carry His own cross to his place of crucifixion. After His sleepless night, miles of walking, severe beating, and scourging Jesus was unable to carry His cross alone. He was assisted by someone pulled from the crowd named Simon of Cyrene. When He arrived at the place of crucifixion, they pulled Jesus' beard out, spit on Him, and mocked him in front of His family and friends. At the cross soldiers gambled saw people gambling for his clothing as five- to seven-inch metal spikes were driven through His hands and feet into a wooden cross. He was then lifted up and his cross dropped into the prepared hole. At this point, those being crucified labored to breath as their bodies went into shock. Naked and ashamed, most who were crucified would use their remaining strength to seek revenge on the crowd of mockers. They would curse at their tormentors. But not Jesus! He spoke seven last words from the cross:
- Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
- Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.
- Woman, behold, your son!...Behold, your mother!
- I thirst.
- My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?
- It is Finished!
- Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.
There have been many famous people who have uttered memorable words in their final moments of life. Last words say a lot about a person's state of mind and character. Of all the last words, none are more insightful than Jesus' last words from the Cross. His words during this intense time of suffering captivate those who are willing to look and see their meaning to those there that day, to us in this present time, and for each individual's future. As we look at this gruesome and glorious day in history over the next seven weeks, we will see that the Words and Work of Jesus speak loudly of God's love, justice, holiness, mercy and grace.
Let's begin looking at those Famous Last Words of Jesus from the cross in Luke 23:33-34, And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to divide his garments.