Join us this Sunday! In-Person 9:00am & 10:45am, Online 9:00am, 10:45am & 5:00pm

Join us this Sunday! In-Person 9:00am & 10:45am, Online 9:00am, 10:45am & 5:00pm

Join us at the next Sunday worship service:
9:00am & 10:45am,
Online 9:00am, 10:45am & 5:00pm


The Last Seven Words of Christ: The word of forgiveness 


“…Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing…” (Luke 23:34). In his last hour, Jesus is saying a prayer, a request to His Father. Jesus isn’t asking for Himself, even though most men would be terrified and overwhelmed, trying desperately to retain their composure. Our prayer would probably be: “God help me,” if we could utter any sounds at all. But Jesus’ prayer is one of complete unselfishness. He is concerned for the people who are responsible for crucifying Him and is asking God to forgive them. Instead of thinking of Himself and His own needs, He is thinking of those whose souls are in much greater peril than His own.

Bottom Line:   

Something To Talk About:

Deep inside, we all feel the need for forgiveness. None of us are perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. Most of us make a lot of mistakes. We all need forgiveness. Fortunately:

  1. Jesus forgives me instantly: One of the most powerful verses in Scripture is in Luke 15:20. “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” Our heavenly Father quickly forgives us no matter how great our sins are. Too often, we wait to turn our hearts toward the Father. Too often, we allow the lack of grace in others to instill in us a belief that God will be mad and slow to forgive us if we confess to Him.  1 John 1:9 says, “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” The moment you confess, you are brought back into righteousness.  Colossians 3:13 (MSG) says, “Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love.”
  2. Jesus forgives completely: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 NIV). When you give your life to Christ, God doesn’t just reverse your sin—He releases it and forgives you completely. When you receive Christ as your Savior, He wipes out your sins. It’s as if all your sins are written on a whiteboard, and He takes a giant eraser and wipes them all away.  It’s called grace. God’s nature is to forgive. “I am the God who forgives your sins, and I do this because of who I am. I will not hold your sins against you” (Isaiah 43:25 GNT). He forgives because of who He is, and He forgives completely. 
  3. Jesus forgives me repeatedly:  In Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus tells the story of a servant who refused to forgive another’s debt after being shown mercy for an even larger debt that he owed. Jesus commanded us to forgive 77 times, which meant an endless number of times in His day. Jesus extends His forgiveness and mercy toward us time and again with no limit. Because of the grace, He shows us and His work in our hearts, we can also forgive without limits. Many people are troubled by the fact that they must keep asking God for forgiveness, and they worry that God will grow weary of their repeatedly coming back. However, God is not like that. Jesus says, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).
  4. Jesus forgives me freely: Most of us are skeptical of anything said to be free. Experience has taught us that such offers are usually too good to be true. We have learned that nothing is ever really free. One way or another, you end up paying for it. While this attitude might be wise when dealing with earthly matters, we must be careful not to let it creep into spiritual matters. God’s Word is clear in Romans 3:24: “Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” If you have placed your faith in Christ, you have been made right in His sight, “justified freely (KJV)” as Paul put it.  Notice this forgiveness is offered “freely” by His grace,” not because of anything we do.

Discussion Questions:

  1. The cross is the premiere symbol of the ultimate sacrifice. We are forgiven because of Jesus’ horrifying and painful death. The cross is an instrument of forgiveness. Agree or disagree and why?
  2. What does “Father, Forgive Them” teach us about forgiveness?
  3. Why must I forgive?  If forgiveness is necessary, how should one forgive? How often should forgiveness be extended to the same person? What if the person does not want to be forgiven? What should be one’s attitude when seeking to forgive? Is forgiveness always necessary?
  4. Many people struggle with knowing that Jesus forgives and is forgiven. ​Why do you think this is so? What helps remind you that you are forgiven?
  5. What does it mean that Jesus forgives sin instantly to you?
  6. What does it mean that God forgives you completely and repeatedly? What about freely? 
  7. Amid an excruciating death, Jesus was focused on the brokenness of those around Him. ​For you, what are the most meaningful ways God has shown you forgiveness?
  8. Forgiveness is a process, and sometimes, we don’t want to go on that journey; we want to hold on to the grudge. ​What are some reasons people have for holding onto grudges and not forgiving?
  9. What is your response to God when He says: “I am the God who forgives your sins, and I do this because of who I am. I will not hold your sins against you” (Isaiah 43:25 GNT)?
  10. What was your main takeaway from this week’s message?

Take One Thing Home with You:

When Jesus offered forgiveness to the men guilty of crucifying Him, it was the greatest act of forgiveness in human history. This act of God’s forgiveness is found in Luke 23:34.

Keep two things in mind about Jesus’s request for God’s forgiveness against the people crucifying Him. First, He was innocent. The second thing to remember is that Jesus had the right and the power to get revenge if He had chosen to do so. Jesus had every right to take his revenge on the men who were nailing Him to the cross. However, He laid down this right and submitted to their torture.

By enduring this torture and sacrificing His life, Jesus purchased the means to forgive the very men who were nailing Him to the cross. This is what the Bible teaches in Romans 6:23. Jesus made the payment that our sins demand by His death on the cross.