By Warren Coe
1. Premier Nazi-hunter, Simon Wiesenthal, tells about being yanked out of work detail & sent to a darkened hospital room in a WWII concentration camp.
- Lying on a bed was a badly wounded soldier with gauze covering entire face.
- Dying man told of joining Hitler’s youth movement & fighting on Russian front
- He told how his SS unit herded Jews into building that was set on fire.
2. He started to tell of a child, a young boy with black hair; dark eyes but his voice gave way. Now he reached out hand to Simon & begged his forgiveness.
- Not hard to stand in each man’s shoes. Everyone has a past they regret
- Everyone has been hurt by someone else who may request that we forgive them.
- How can I be forgiven for what I did? How can I forgive person who hurt?
3. In 23rd chapter of Luke we discover the power of forgiveness; how we can experience God’s forgiveness and, in turn, forgive those who’ve wounded us.
- Author of text is Luke. His purpose for writing is stated Luke1:3,4, That you may know the Truth of Jesus
- Postmodernist gurus say truth is unknowable/subjective. Luke is concerned with facts
- Our faith rests on the substantial & unshakeable foundation of God’s truth.
4. Luke records one of the last Jesus’ words spoken on the cross. He reports what eye witnesses saw/heard when Jesus said, Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they do…
- Today we begin a sermon series titled The Voice Form the Cross, Dr. R. Bodey
- Seven times Jesus spoke from cross. Beside John 3:16 more sermons have been preached on these seven phrases.
- But in those seven phrases we discover the heart of our Christian faith.
Today consider Jesus’ prayer & discover the power of forgiveness.
I. God’s FORGIVENESS SHINES BRILLIANT IN THE NIGHT OF HUMAN REBELLION
1. It’s impossible to understand Jesus’ words apart from a profound awareness of what’s happening here. Putting sinless Jesus Son of God to death constitutes the greatest of human crime.
- Who is to blame? V24-Pilate. V35-Religious rulers. Acts 2:23 Ancient Israel.
- 1 Peter 3:18-Unjust. All humanity—You and I swung hammer, thrust spear in Jesus’ side
- Collective crimes/sin cannot equal this dark night of rebellion when Christ was killed
2. In this darkness a bright light shines on our world & heart. Jesus prays Father, forgive… Jesus’ prayer is the light of complete & total forgiveness.
- Forgive=Remit, dismiss or send away, for God to blot out transgressions.
- In thy sovereign grace cause them to repent truly, so they can be pardoned
- There is no sin, no transgression, no mistake that can’t be forgiven.
3. Listen to God’s Word. Micah 7:19 tread on & cast into & Hebrews 8:12. Christ forgives completely & develops amnesia about our sin.
- Friend’s rich aunt. Not wealth but God’s forgiveness of her sins.
- In Christ we can be forgiven. Puritan Thomas Watson, God throws our sins into sea, not as a cork to rise again but as lead that sinks to the bottom.
- But you must believe in Christ. You must repent of sins. Then experience power of God’s forgiveness
4. Did Father hear his son? After putting Jesus to death, Jerusalem, the city & inhabitants lasted another 40yrs. Over those 40 yrs the gospel was preached to Jerusalem.
- Ten thousand came to saving faith. Yes, the Father heard his son’s prayer.
- He continues to honor that prayer. If you are a believer, it is because of Jesus.
- Against the dark night of sin, Christ’s prayer shines like a brilliant sun.
The voice from the cross that says we can be forgiven completely of our past…
II. GOD’S FORGIVENESS IS POWER TO FORGIVE OTHERS V33
1. If you asked non-Christians to quote something from Jesus, it would be Jesus’ words, “Forgive your enemies”. It was Jesus’ teachings on forgiveness that drew Gandhi’s admiration.
- Universally, people respect Jesus as religious teacher because of what he said on forgiveness
- Yet, universally people struggle to forgive. Even Christians stumble over forgiveness.
- Forgiveness is an unnatural act. Ask parent whose child killed by drunk driver.
2. How can I have power to forgive another? Begin with Jesus’ example. No matter how bad you’ve been treated, it cannot compare to way Jesus’ was treated. Look at the text.
- The Hurt of being labeled with criminals. V33 Physical pain of crucifixion.
- Wounds of being mocked V35, 36. Jesus experienced great degradation.
- Yet, he prays, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!
3. Then you entrust your hurt to your Savior’s Father. Look carefully at Luke 23:34, How does Jesus begin prayer? Act of trust. Demonstration of dependence.
- I can’t explain why a husband beats his wife or a father does evil things to his daughter
- Nor can anyone else explain it, but I know I have a heavenly father.
- He is good. He loves me & makes it his goal to rescue me from ashes of broken pr
4. How long will you carry unforgiveness? How long will you let it eat at your soul? Do you know that unforgiveness is destroying your body?
- Dr. Robert Enright is a professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
- In his research he discovered that unforgiveness causes cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, hypertension, cancer & psychosomatic illness.
- But by following Christ’s example we can be free of dreaded disease of unforgiveness.
1. The voice from the cross displays the power of God’s forgiveness; for it is power to blot out our past sins & guilty conscience.
- And Jesus prayer serves as an example for us to follow.
- That as Jesus forgave those who crucified him, we can forgive others.
- If we are truly followers of Jesus Christ, then we are released by God’s power to forgive.
2. When Simon Wiesenthal saw the soldier’s hand reach out & heard the dying man beg for forgiveness an important decision was before him.
- Does he forgive the man who took so many lives?
- Does he forgive the man whose fellow guards might shoot Simon next day?
- After listening to his confession for 2 hrs, Mr. Wiesenthal left the room.
3. He did not forgive for he could not forgive. Only those who have been to Calvary & heard the voice from the cross can both be forgiven and even forgive.
- If you do not know Jesus Christ, you need forgiveness he prayed for. Call on Jesus today
- If you are a Christian but have yet to forgive another, then follow Jesus’ example today
- Do it today. Release pain. Let go bitterness. Listen to the voice from cross.
* Title taken from Richard Bodey’s book The Voice From The Cross