In most Good Friday sermons, it is often preached that in this first saying, Christ is modeling forgiveness among the brethren in the church. But is this what Christ meant when he prayed this first word while he hung on the cross?
Text: Luke 23:34 a; Readings: Psalm 22:16-18; Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:26-49
|March 4, 2012||Download PDF sermon here|
The commemoration of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is only six Sundays away. We will prepare for the celebration of our Lordâ€™s resurrection by looking at portions of the Gospels where Jesus spoke as he was hanging on the cross before he died. These are often called the Seven Last Words or the Seven Words of the Cross, because Jesus spoke seven times.
In the Filipino culture, as in many other cultures, the last words of a beloved one on his or her deathbed is very important. It is called â€œhuling bilin,â€ which is a sort of a â€œlast wishâ€ that the loved ones are bound to fulfill. One of Jesus’ last words is to the apostle John, who was the only one of the Twelve who witnessed his crucifixion. Jesus told him to care for Mary his earthly mother. As we will see later, John fulfilled Jesus’s wish.
To be sure, we study the whole life of our Lord and all his words, but it is also God’s providence that his last words before he died on the cross have been preserved for our study.
The first word he said was, â€œFather, forgive them, for they know not what they do.â€ In most Good Friday sermons, it is often preached that in this first saying, Christ is modeling forgiveness among the brethren in the church. If Christ asked his Father to forgive those who have offended, harmed and crucified him, how can we his disciples not forgive the same? Are we not people who have been forgiven by God, and so we are to forgive others an infinite number of times? (Matt 18:21-22) To be sure, Jesus even taught us the ultimate kind of forgiveness: that of loving, forgiving and doing good to our enemies (Luke 6:27).
But is this what Christ meant when he prayed this first word while he hung on the cross? Today, we will meditate on Jesus’s first of the Seven Last Words he spoke while he hung on the cross. First, What was the purpose of this prayer? Second, Who were the objects of this prayer? And third, Did God hear his prayer?
Read the rest of the sermon here.