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OUR LORD PRAYING FOR HIS MURDERERS.
LUKE XXIII. 34.
THEN SAID JESUS, FATHER, FORGIVE THEM; FOR THEY
KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO.
THE various offices of the Lord Jesus Christ, prophetical, priestly, and regal, form a threefold cord that cannot be broken; and one upon which every believer may safely suspend the salvation of his soul, in the full assurance of faith. We find our gracious Lord sustaining these important relations to His Church, during the whole period in which, as the incarnate Word of God, He dwelt on earth, for the salvation of men : and they were not separated from his glorious
Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross.” Earnestly desiring, and humbly hoping, as God the Spirit may vouchsafe his blessing, to improve this solemn season, I have chosen as the subjects of our meditation the seven memorable sayings uttered by our Lord, while He hung between heaven and earth, a spectacle to men and angels--a spectacle of scorn to men who crucified Him ;a spectacle of transporting wonder to the blessed angels, who stand around the throne, that the fellow of the Lord of Hosts should thus become not only a man, but a sacrifice that He should testify his love to sinners, by becoming incarnate, and dying, -- their substitute and ransom! The eye of our souls, as the Spirit may give us faith, will thus be fixed upon the cross, without the distractions, almost necessarily produced by a frequent change of scene. And O, that our hearts may be so opened by the grace
of a simple, childlike faith to receive and apply the words of our dying Lord, that they may become to us the power of God to our salvation !
The text in which the Lord Jesus Christ prayed for those who crucified Him, records the first words uttered by Him, when, with his arms extended on the cross, He acted like His type the High Priest, who stretched forth his arms in the temple, to bless the people, and cried “ Father, forgive them ; for they know not what they do.” May we not say, that He thus entered upon His high-priestly office, as His representative under the law acted in the great day of atonement ? If we are believers in Him, whatever be the feebleness of our faith, it is our blessed privilege to go with Him into that most holy place, and there to have our full, our present, and our everlasting portion, in the rich and boundless mercies which His intercession calls down from the Father, upon “ all who come unto God by Him." May that Holy
Spirit who takes of the things of Christ, and shews them to His inquiring disciples, commend His priestly work, in its extent and comfort of love, to the hearts of all among you; and enable you to feel the happiness of being able individually to say, “He loved me, and gave Himself for me.
Father, forgive them ; for they know not what they do."
From this prayer of our dying Saviour we may learn, as His Spirit applies it,
I. THAT IGNORANCE OF THE PERSON AND WORK OF JESUS CHRIST, ARISING FROM THAT CARNAL MIND, WHICH IS ENMITY AGAINST GOD, FORMS THE CHIEF REASON WHY MEN SIN AGAINST HIM, EVEN. TO CRUCIFYING HIM AFRESH, AND PUTTING HIM TO AN OPEN SHAME.
The Jews had possessed the means of knowing Him, as the promised Messiah, when the fulness of time should come, wherein to discharge that obligation, into which He had entered by covenant engage