We began a new sermon series this week, looking at the seven statements Jesus made while being crucified. The first of these statements was actually a prayer to the Father for mercy for his executioners and their accomplices. Jesus truly desired forgiveness for those who were responsible for the illegal trials, the scourging, the humiliation, the degradation, the cruelty, and the utter sin against him; but notice, he asked for forgiveness as they were committing these atrocious sins. The Scriptures also teach us though that Christ's death was also for us, to achieve our atonement and our forgiveness, even while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8)! This demonstration of mercy is incredible! So, who can't you forgive? And why? Who should you be praying for today?
Jesus prayed for mercy for those who were committing sins of ignorance. Contrast this to the prayer that David prayed in Psalm 51 when prayed for mercy and forgiveness for himself because of sins he knew he committed. There is a vast difference in sins of ignorance and sin knowingly committed against God, but they both equally require justice. They both require the blood of Christ to be forgiven. David begins his prayer pleading for mercy, acknowledging his sin. Multiple times in this prayer David confesses his sin recognizing his only hope of deliverance from the justice due him will come from God. Knowledge of sin is crucial, because it is knowledge of sin that precedes confession of sin.
The two thieves crucified on either side of Jesus demonstrate these two polar extremes, knowledge and ignorance. Clearly one thief didn't believe he deserved the justice he was receiving, but the other did and he chastised the ignorant thief. The knowing thief confessed that he was a sinner and pleaded for mercy from Christ, and Christ promised redemption and restoration. This coming Sunday we will be looking at this promise in more detail in Luke 23:43. In the mean time, I urge you to spend some quality time examining your heart and your life as David did, acknowledging the sin in your heart, confessing it before the Lord as you ask for forgiveness.
You can watch Sunday’s sermon here.
Upcoming Sunday’s Sermon Text: Luke 23:43