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Forgiveness and Mercy from the Cross

Was he implying that God would forgive them by this request?

Doesn’t forgiveness by God require us to ask for forgiveness ourselves and to forgive others who have sinned against us?

These are very appropriate questions because they open the door to a consideration of the true meaning of both forgiveness and the crucifixion.  Let us look briefly at the last two of these three queries that ask only for a negative or affirmative answer, then go to your primary question.

Doesn’t forgiveness by God require us to ask for forgiveness ourselves and to forgive others who have sinned against us?

Was he implying that God would forgive them by this request?

No.  It is tempting to think otherwise because it was Jesus that prayed for them, but this is not the lesson of this important utterance.

Now to the primary question:

What exactly does it mean that Jesus asked the Father to forgive these people?

 Here is the utterance in context;

According St. Luke.[23] (from the Bible)

[33] And when they came to the place which is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left.

[34] And Jesus said, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they cast lots to divide his garments.

[35] And the people stood by, watching; but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”

[36] The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him vinegar,

[37] and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”

[38] There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.

In his last moments as a mortal human being, Jesus was still fulfilling his mission to the world through giving testimony to Truth by his example.  He had thoroughly expressed all Truth with his Word; on the cross he was exemplifying it in the flesh, that it might be secured and made known to all flesh in the coming ages.  The key word here is mercy.  We will discuss that first, and then proceed to forgiveness.  Ponder this Beatitude and this command:

About Mercy of God  – according St. Mathew.5 (from the Bible)

[7] Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

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