Jesus Offers Forgiveness      Luke 23:32-47     Feb. 20, 2005

Introduction
This passage of scripture demonstrates mankind can only die, in a spiritual sense, three different ways. One can die In Sin, To Sin, or For Sin. If you thinking quickly you will realize Jesus died, For Sin, and really He is the only one who could die for sin, because He is sinless. The repentant thief dies To Sin, and the unrepentant thief dies In Sin. Because He died For Sin, Jesus Offers Forgiveness.

1.    Jesus Offers Forgiveness To. . Ignorant Sinners. 23:32-34

A.    The . . Placement of the Cross by Ignorant Sinners. 23:32-33
    32 Two others--criminals--were also led away to be executed with Him. 33 When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified Him there, along with the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. [34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing."] And they divided His clothes and cast lots.

B.    The . . Person of the Cross by Ignorant Sinners. 23:34
    34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing."

C.    The . . Perception of the Cross by Ignorant Sinners. 23:34
    "And they divided His clothes and cast lots. "

    When Jesus said "Father forgive them for they know not what they do" He appealed for uninformed, uneducated therefore ignorant sinners. In a sense that is all of us, but specifically the soldiers and the crowd who crucified Him. Every once in a while I talk to someone who thinks they have sinned more than God can forgive. When you read about Jesus asking for forgiveness for these folks it seems to me all other sins could be seen as forgivable. Just as ignorance of the law does not excuse illegal actions; ignorance of God's law or plan does not eliminate guilt.
 

2.    Jesus Offers Forgiveness To . . Insolent Sinners. 23:35-39

A.    The . . Allegations of Insolent Sinners. 23:35-37
    35 The people stood watching, and even the leaders kept scoffing: "He saved others; let Him
save Himself if this is God's Messiah, the Chosen One!" 36 The soldiers also mocked
Him. They came offering Him sour wine 37 and said, "If You are the King of the Jews, save
Yourself!"

B.    The . . Accolades of Insolent Sinners. 23:38
    38 An inscription was above Him: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS

C.    The . . Arrogance of Insolent Sinners. 23:39
    39 Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at Him: "Aren't You the
Messiah? Save Yourself and us!"

    Insolent people can be rude, disrespectful and insulting. I say the soldiers, and leaders were insolent in their allegations asking "if you are the Son of God." Then the unrepentant thief and many in the crowd join in this manner. Even the accolade on the inscription on top the cross was insolent rather than respectful. The unrepentant thief expressed arrogance in his call for Jesus to "save Yourself and us!" His insolence cares only about his physical condition, and sadly so this speaks about many of our day.
 

3.    Jesus Offers Forgiveness To . . Inquiring Sinners. 23:40-43

A.    The . . Honesty of Inquiring Sinners. 23:40-41
    40 But the other answered, rebuking him: "Don't you even fear God, since you are
undergoing the same punishment? 41 We are punished justly, because we're getting back
what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong."

B.    The . . Humility of Inquiring Sinners. 23:40-42
    42 Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!"

C.    The . . Honor to Inquiring Sinners. 23:43
    43 And He said to him, " I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise."

    In the midst of those who reject Christ it is refreshing to notice the repentant thief. He represents inquiring sinners. We notice the honest of his inquiry. He admits his quilt and the justice of his punishment. This admission must come to all we who have sinned; it is a first step toward forgiveness. He also demonstrates his humility by simple asking Christ to remember him when he comes into His kingdom. Why did he not ask more, or pray the sinners prayer? In my opinion his humility did not allow him to ask more. Jesus recognized his heart's desire and honored his request with the promise he would be in paradise.
 

4.    Jesus Offers Forgiveness To. . Inspired Sinners. 23:44-47

A.    The . . Phenomena Observed by Inspired Sinners. 23:44-45
    44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three, 45 because
the sun's light failed. The curtain of the sanctuary was split down the middle.

B.    The . . Proclamation Observed by Inspired Sinners. 23:46
    46 And Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into Your hands I entrust My spirit." Saying this, He breathed His last.

C.    The . . Praise Observed by Inspired Sinners. 23:47
47 When the centurion saw what happened, he began to glorify God, saying, "This man really was righteous!"

    The phenomena of the sun being darkened at noon, and the temple veil being torn probably inspired many. It is interesting to note in Matthew that the veil is torn from the top to the bottom. This means God tore it, and indicates no longer will the holy of holies be needed. The proclamation of Jesus last words from the cross surely inspired the centurion, and he offers praise. This praise comes after being the events in the last minutes of Jesus earthly life. What kind of sinner would you be most like? Hopefully one who comes to Christ for salvation, because Jesus Offers Forgiveness. Amen? Amen!