As sinful men cried out, “Crucify him!” the Son of God cried out “Forgive them!”
All are invited to join us for midweek study during the month of May at the McShaffrey home at 6:30 pm as we explore together the biblical and theological significance of Jesus’ prayer from the cross.
A Fulfillment of OT Prophesy
Throughout his earthly ministry, the messianic claims of Jesus where questioned by many of the Jews.
Therefore, during his final hours, Jesus fulfilled in exhaustive detail the most messianic chapter in the OT.
More specifically, “… he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12)
Besides being an act of intercession, Jesus’ prayer served two scripture-centered purposes:
– To interpret the purpose of his sufferings
– To affirm the perfections of scripture
A Fulfillment of Righteousness
Part of Jesus’ work of redemption was to obtain perfect righteousness which he could impute to sinners.
This is why Jesus fulfilled the law of God so perfectly during his lifetime (c.f., Matthew 5:17).
Specifically, in Luke 23:34, Jesus “practiced what he preached” on the law of love (Matt. 5:43-48).
As a fulfillment of all righteousness, Jesus’ prayer served at least two redemptive purposes:
– To obtain for himself perfect merit
– To offer that merit to those who lack it
An Example to Christians
Jesus both taught and modeled the proper response to persecution (Matt. 5:10-11, Luke 23:34).
The first Christian martyr, Stephen, followed well in the footsteps of his Master (Acts 7:60).
Peter called all abused Christians to imitate Christ in a similar manner (1 Peter 2:20-25).
In praying for his enemies, Jesus left an example which serves two purposes in times of persecution:
– To comfort the persecuted
– To convict the persecutors
An Assurance for All
Sin so alienates sinners from God, that even their prayers are not regarded by him (Prov. 15:8, 29; 28:9).
Jesus came to reconcile such sinners to God and to serve as their Mediator (Romans 5:10, 1 Timothy 2:5).
The intercession Jesus began on earth (c.f., Luke 23:34) now continues in heaven (Hebrews 7:25).
In praying for sinners’ forgiveness, Jesus offered timeless encouragement which serves two purposes:
– To assure sinners that they can be forgiven
– To assure saints that they have been forgiven