It is the season of Lent and time to turn our eyes and our hearts toward Calvary, not just to look at the empty cross but to look at the empty tomb and to contemplate what it means to us and to the world. We will be looking at the 7 last words of Jesus from the cross as our Lenten Sermon Series. I hope that the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts together will glorify God in this holy season and cause us, by God's grace, to grow closer to the one who died to save us from our sin.
The first sermon of the series is about those words that Jesus uttered as he witnessed the milling mass of humanity that gathered to watch his execution. There were the Roman soldiers there to do their jobs as executioners and keepers of the peace. There were the members of the Sanhedrin who had set their plan in motion not knowing that this was truly the "Son of God" that they were accusing of blasphemy. There were the curious, the morbid onlookers who came to witness the spectacle. There were the disciples and women who came to mourn the loss of a son, a brother, a friend. Even they did not comprehend the hand of God at work on that forlorn piece of rock that is known as Golgotha.
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" were the words that Jesus uttered first. They most have sounded strange to the soldiers who were casting lots for his garments. They were used to hearing mutterings and curses from men who were condemned to death, but this man prays for those who persecute him. Is this prophesy fulfilled as Isaiah pronounced "for he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." (Isaiah 53:14)
"Father, forgive them" were the words and they were intended for all those who were present just as they were meant for us in 2012 for none of us are innocent of the crimes commited against God our Father. All of us are guilty of the sins that nailed him to the tree.
"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Pray that God would convict us of our sin and heal us of our disease that we might serve him lovingly and mightily during this Lenten season.