The Word of Forgiveness

February 19, 2023 Preacher: Pedro Samuel Series: 7 Last Words of Jesus on the Cross

Topic: The Gospel Scripture: Luke 23:26–37


Luke records the final words of Jesus before he died on the cross; "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Lk 23:34. You and I are on His mind as the horror of the cross begins. And as it does, Jesus prays. He prays not just for us, who, by God’s grace, have become His “friends,” but for His enemies. He prays for those who hate Him and even those who are engaged in the process of committing His murder. What an example for us all!

  1. Jesus Addresses God as Father (v. 34a)
  2. Jesus’ Plea (v. 34b)

Are you praying for the salvation of a friend or a loved one? Are you discouraged because it seems as though nothing is happening? Does someone you care about seem to be an avowed and open enemy of Jesus? Has someone become your enemy because of your testimony of faith in Christ? Even when He was nailed to the cross Jesus prayed for His enemies.

As Jesus begins the last phase of his life --  dying on a cross hung between earth and heaven --  he prays for all of us who put him there. He calls out to his Father, without any shame at the intimacy of his love and the authenticity of his Sonship --  "Father, forgive them." And so we pray the prayer ourselves: Father, forgive us.

Getting Started                         

  1. Who do you pray for most? When things are going well there is probably a long list. When you are tired or busy you probably have a shorter list.

 Read Luke 23:26-37

  1. What insight, principle, or observation from Sunday’s sermon did you find to be the most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling?

 Digging Deeper

  1. What Is the Context of Luke 23:34?  


  1. Of all the words in Jesus’ prayer from the cross, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do,” the most loaded word in it is a pronoun: “them.” Who does the pronoun refer to? Who is he praying for?


  1. “Father:” We see Jesus using a familiar term here showcasing the relationship He had with God the Father. This is contrasted with Jesus’ later statement, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Later on, in Luke 23:46, Jesus last statement from the cross starts again with “Father”. What does the change in nouns suggest about His relationship with God, while Jesus is hanging on the cross?

 The Heart of the Matter

  1. Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, God in the flesh, could have come down from the cross at any time, but He chose to forgive, and He chose to take our sin onto Himself so we could have eternity with Him in heaven. What do the following verses teach us about forgiveness? (Mark 11:25; Ephesians 1:7-8 )


  1. When was the last time someone humiliated or hurt you? When was the last time someone put you in a situation so unbearable that it felt like you weren’t going to come out the other side unscathed? Was forgiveness the order of the day or did it take time to work through that grief and hurt?


  1. With Jesus’ simple yet powerful prayer, we have a model for how to respond when we’re offended, betrayed, scorned, and wronged. Is there someone who you feel has done you wrong, that you need to forgive? What excuses keep you from forgiving them?

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