Luke 23:32-34 (The first Saying from the Cross)

Luke 23:32-34: "There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.  Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”[

"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34)

Here we see his LOVE for his enemies (the Romans and all the others crucifying him) This innocent man has just been put through 6 illegal trials, beaten, mocked, given a crown of thorns, had to carry his cross through jeering crowds of people who'd cried for his death in place of a murderer. 
Finally his hands and feet were nailed to a cross and he was lifted up in great agony by cruel soldiers. In all this suffering he didn't lose faith in his Father God. In his agony would he cry for pity? Or condemn and curse his persecutors? No, in his love for those he came to die for, he forgot himself and prayed those who were hurting him. 

He had taught: Love your enemies, bless..., do good... Pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you. (Matthew 5:44). 
Now he put it into practice in the most extreme case and fulfilled the prophecy: he will make intercession for the transgressors (Isa 53:12) 

What LOVE to: (1) Forgive and (2) ask God to forgive those who had turned against him in hatred and caused him such pain! This was unconditional forgiveness. What a perfect example of how to treat those who wrong us.

The hands that once healed were nailed to the cross. The feet that took him from place to place to minister to people's needs were also bound. But his faith and prayers were not bound. He prayed that the Roman soldiers - his executioners would be saved.

Was his prayer answered? YES. They ALL became believers! 
When the centurion and those with him guarding Jesus, 
saw the earthquake and the things that happened (including how he died), they feared greatly, saying,Truly this was the Son of God. (Matt 27:54, Mark 15:39, Luke 23:47). 

At least 30 soldiers saved! Then soon after 3000, & then 2000 men were saved who were responsible for his death. (Acts 2:23,36,41; 3:13-17,4:4) We see the same principle with Stephen's prayer for Paul (Acts 7:58-60; 9:4,5). 

This shows us never to regard anyone as beyond the reach of prayer. 
Our prayers keep on working, even after death! What if our movements are restricted, or we are stuck somewhere with no opportunities? 

Jesus shows us we're never useless. Our prayers are powerful! 
Often the elderly can't be so active, but they can accomplish more in retirement through prayer, than in the rest of their life! 

Jesus prayed for others even in his last hours. Even pinned to the cross Jesus could achieve great things through prayer.

The first SALVATION blessing: FORGIVENESS. 

Jesus spoke this word to show that FORGIVENESS flows from the cross, meeting man's first need. As he hung there, his blood pouring from his wounds, he prayed that forgiveness would flow out to all who would receive. 
The basis for that forgiveness was the very blood of the cross. The cross revealed the full horror of our sin-we all had a part in Christ's death, and so this prayer and blessing is for all of us. When man had done his worst, Jesus still extended forgiveness, showing that forgiveness is available for all sin and to all men.



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