January 21, 2020 – Tuesday
Luke 23:33-34 NIV
33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified Him there, along with the criminals—one on His right, the other on His left.
34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Comments – Part 3 of 3
Today I would like to share what a few commentaries say about Jesus’ first words from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Again, the silence is broken, not by the cry of anguish or sigh of passionate complaint, but by words of tenderest pity and intercession. It is well, however, that we should remember who were the primary direct objects of that prayer. Not Pilate, for he knew that he had condemned the innocent; not the chief priests and scribes, for their sin, too, was against light and knowledge. Those for whom our Lord then prayed were clearly the soldiers who nailed Him to the cross, to whom the work was but that which they were, as they deemed, bound to do as part of their duty. It is, however, legitimate to think of His intercession as including, in its ultimate extension, all who in any measure sin against God as not knowing what they do. Ellicott’s Commentary
This is a fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 53:12; “He made intercession for the transgressors.” The prayer was offered for those who were guilty of putting him to death. It is not quite certain whether he referred to the “Jews” or “to the Roman soldiers.” Perhaps he referred to both. The Romans knew not what they did, as they were really ignorant that he was the Son of God, and as they were merely obeying the command of their rulers. The Jews knew, indeed, that he was “innocent,” and they had evidence, if they would have looked at it, that he was the Messiah; but they did not know what would be the effect of their guilt; they did not know what judgments and calamities they were bringing down upon their country. Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
Father, forgive them Isaiah 53:12, “He bare the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” These words were probably uttered at the terrible moment when the Sufferer was outstretched upon the Cross and the nails were being driven through the palms of the hands. They are certainly genuine, though strangely omitted by B, D. We must surely suppose that the prayer was uttered not only for the Roman soldiers, who were the mere instruments of the executors, but for all His enemies. It was in accordance with His own teaching (Matthew 5:44). Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
These first of the seven words from the cross seem, from their position in the record, to have been spoken very early in the awful scene, probably while the nails were being driven into the hands and feet. Different from other holy dying men, he had no need to say, “Forgive me.” Then, as always, thinking of others, he utters this prayer, uttering it, too, as Stier well observes, with the same consciousness which had been formerly expressed, “Father, I know that thou hearest me always.” “His intercession has this for its ground, though in meekness it is not expressed: ‘Father, I will that thou forgive them.” Pulpit Commentary
And the one I find most correct as well as short and succinct: Christ, in praying for his enemies, shows that he is both the Sacrifice and the Priest. Geneva Study Bible
I remain amazed that God demonstrated His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8