The first word that Jesus said was Father Forgive them – Luke 23:34

Jesus was helplessly hung on the cross. Even at the height of his pain and sufferings, he didn’t forget the purpose of his mission. He prayed for people around him, who had their own agenda and cause behind his crucifixion. Notice that Jesus was in deep pain. Even then didn’t pray for himself. Read Jesus said first word Father Forgive them on the cross.

If we were in that situation, and in our right senses, we would pray to God to comfort or help us. Other than that I don’t think anything else will strike our mind during such grief and sufferings. But Jesus thoughtfully prays to the Father to forgive them.

Who are they that Jesus is indeed praying for?

Forgiveness is always the foundation of Jesus’ teaching. But the problem is if one knows where they went wrong, asking forgiveness makes sense to them. But the problem in this scenario is no one knew that they were wrong. Everyone was right in their own way. So, for whom did Jesus pray?

He prayed for Pontius Pilate: He couldn’t understand the truth or stand for it. He was concerned more about his own power and position than justice to common people.

He prayed for Roman soldiers: They personally had no problem with Jesus or His claims. They simply obeyed the orders of Pilate. Unknowingly they fulfilled Psalm 22:16-18 when they cast lots to divide his clothes among themselves (Matthew 27:35).

Father forgive them for they know not what they do song from the seven words of jesus on the cross

He prayed for the religious folks: They mocked and judged him according to their law and found him guilty of Blasphemy (Matthew 27:41–43).

He prayed for the two criminals: They were wicked people, who despised Jesus and reviled him (Matthew 27:44).

He prayed for the crowd: They were misled and blindfolded by the Jewish leaders, who projected Jesus as a troublemaker (Acts 3:17). Hence they were ignorant of the truth of who Jesus truly was.

He prayed for the entire mankind: Jesus not only prayed for those directly involved in his crucifixion, but he remembered all of us -which includes you and me also.

Jesus, who cared for their soul, knew that they needed forgiveness even if they didn’t realize that they crucified the very Prince of the life and the Lord of glory (see Acts 3:15 & 1Corinthians 2:8). They didn’t know that they were crucifying the true Son of God. No matter what the reason or the agenda they all had, they were equally responsible in God’s sight for Jesus’ death.

To be precise, Jesus was taking ignorance as the ground for their salvation. However, he was asking God to cancel all the debts we all owe to Him because of our sins.

Father forgive them sermon from the seven words of jesus on the cross

All through his earthly ministry, Jesus’ main emphasis was forgiveness. He not only taught about it but also practiced it in action. Through this prayer, Jesus demonstrated three things:

  • Firstly, he affirmed his relationship with God when addressed him as a father; this was the main reason that drove the Pharisee crazy and mad.
  • Secondly, he fulfilled the prophecy declared by Isaiah in Isiah 53:12, where he mentioned that Jesus would bear our sins and make intercession on our behalf.
  • Finally, he displayed the almost form of love and compassion by willingly forgiving those, who persecuted him in one way or the other.

Jesus’ plea for forgiveness didn’t go in vain. One of the criminals, who were crucified along with him, changed his mind about Christ and accepted Him as the Lord and received His forgiveness. Right away, he was given access to paradise (Luke 23:39–43). Even the centurion, who was actively involved in his crucifixion part, perceived the truth and acknowledged that Jesus was indeed the son of God (Mark 15:39 & Matthew 27:54).

Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin, openly disclosed his faith by offering a mixture of myrrh and aloes which weight about seventy-five pounds after his death (John 19:39). A few months later, about three thousand people in Jerusalem were saved when Peter shared the truth (Acts 2:41).

Later, Paul, one of the Pharisees who once was a blasphemer and persecuted Christians to their death, underwent a life-transforming experience which changed the entire course and focus of life. (1Timothy 1:13)

Jesus didn’t die as a victim, but he purposefully chose the Cross. By doing so, he paid the entire penalty for our sins, so that you and I can receive God’s forgiveness. Sovereign God used man’s ignorance and their reasoning and blended it with His unfailing love, grace, and mercy to provide salvation to mankind.

We too can receive His forgiveness and enjoy all the spiritual blessings if we turn to Christ in repentance and accept Him by faith and rely only on his finished work for our salvation. May God grant you the divine wisdom to see and perceive the Truth and thereby become a part of his own kingdom