The things that a person says in their final moments before death is very telling. I invite you to join me tonight as together we lean in close to the Cross and listen to Jesus’ final words.
Here is a man Who had been born in a stable 33 years earlier. He was brought up in Nazareth, baptized at the age of 30, and had spent every moment of His life doing good. He is the Son of God. Yet He is hated and has been condemned to die. The crowd had cried out “Crucify Him” and now He hangs nailed to the Cross. His enemies all watch as His life’s blood drains away and covers the black canvas of man’s sin in crimson red - the color of grace, mercy, and salvation. But Listen!......He is about to say something!.... “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” This is Jesus praying from the Cross. He is praying for those who condemned Him. He is praying for those who rejected Him. He is praying for those who nailed Him to that Cross. I can hear Jesus saying those same words throughout the incredibly painful and tortuous march of carrying His own Cross......”Father, forgive them.” As He reaches the spot of His crucifixion and falls in exhaustion to the ground I can hear Him saying......“Father forgive them.” As the soldiers grab His horribly beaten and bloody body, throwing Him down hard against the splintery wood of the Cross I can hear Him saying......”Father forgive them.” As the blow of a soldiers hammer drives the cold steel spikes that tear through His flesh I can hear Him saying...... ”Father forgive them.” As He is lifted up, His Cross dropping with a heavy thud into the ground I can still hear Him saying......”Father forgive them.” The crowd jeers Him and mocks Him, and Jesus prays....”Father forgive them.” The soldiers gamble for His garments and He prays....”Father forgive them.” They had earlier stood Him in a corner and beat Him, they spit in His face, they lied about Him, they crowned Him with thorns, and now they have nailed Him to a Cross and still I can hear Him saying......”Father forgive them.” Jesus prayed not for Himself, but for others. The greatest need of every person who will ever live is the need of forgiveness. You can have perfect health, you can have more money than you know what to do with, you can have a large circle of friends and a high education but none of those amount to anything at all if unrepented and unforgiven sin stands between you and God. “The wages of sin is death” says the Bible. Christ willingly died and paid in full, on your behalf and mine, the price demanded for our sin, even though it was rightfully ours to pay. As a result of that most perfect demonstration of love from the Cross there is freely available, to all, the very thing which Christ prayed from the Cross - Forgiveness! But understand this, only those who come to that Cross confessing their sin and REPENTING of their sin can ever receive His forgiveness.
Jesus went willingly to the Cross for our sins. He wants to come and live in your heart as Lord and Saviour. Have you given your heart to Him? If you have not taken that step of faith I encourage you to do so this very night. Why the urgency? Every night there are approximately 80,000 people who go to bed, and they never wake up. You could be one of those people tonight. You need to make absolutely certain that you are prepared. Don’t wait a moment longer. It’s the most important decision that you will ever make.
God bless you,