Wednesday, September 05, 2007
FATHER FORGIVE THEM
A Short Study Of Luke 23:34
The world of christendom would have us to understand that when the Lord said this while He hung on the cross, He intended it to apply to all men without any exceptions, whatever. But consider this.
Is there a prayer ever prayed by the Son of God that the Father did not absolutely answer?
If God the Father does not forgive all men everywhere of their sins, then the Son prayed an ineffectual prayer. This can never be! Some at this point would clarify the Lord’s words as, “Father forgive everybody who wants your forgiveness”. But this is clearly not what He said, nor was it in His mind.
How do we know?
Scripture makes it clear.
The very night before His death He openly prayed to the Father for the people He represented. These are those He identified no less than six times as those the Father gave Him (John 17:2, 6, 9, 11, 12, 24). He knew who they were, the Father knew who they were. He repeatedly said this so that it would be abundantly clear to us. He wanted us to know this prayer was specifically for them. Note the amazing statement He made in v 9, “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me”.
He was not praying for the world, but strictly and solely for them.
Now, will anyone be so arrogant to say that the Son of God, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, changed His mind the next day when He hung on the cross and said, “Father forgive them”?
Did the agony of the cross somehow cause Him to reconsider His view and to now begin praying for men He refused to pray for the day before?
If He changed His mind, He cannot be God (Malachi 3:6). Not so! He made it clear exactly who He would do this for. He plainly told the Pharisees He came for His sheep (John 10:11, 15). And He distinguished His sheep by contrast to those He said were not of His sheep (John 10:26). These Pharisees were not His, He did not die for them. He came to exact a forgiveness for them, meaning His own sheep, the ones the Father gave Him. That is all. And that is good.
Steve Baloga, A member of Providence Church, Powell, Tennessee