The Prayer Of Jesus For His Murderers

Long before his death, Jesus commanded his disciples to forgive those who injured them. This injunction is in the Lord's Prayer, and it is also found in the following:

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times? Jesus says unto him, say not unto you, until seven times, but until seventy times seven. Matt. 18: 21, 22.

The reason is, because God places no limit on his forgiveness. If it could be shown that God ever ceases to forgive, then the obligation would not rest on man to forgive those who wrong him. But as God always forgives, man should do likewise. "Seventy times seven" four hundred and ninety times, denotes continual forgiveness. How sublimely was this illustrated on the cross:

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Luke 23: 34.

Did Jesus offer this prayer "in faith, nothing doubting?" If not it was not Christian prayer. Was his prayer answered? If not, then Jesus was mistaken, for he said, addressing the wicked Jews:

You shall not see me henceforth, till you shall say, blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord. Matt. 23: 37-39.

And certainly Peter looked beyond the guilt of the murderers of Jesus to their deliverance from sin, when he said:

The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers has glorified his Son Jesus; whom you delivered up and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go, but you killed the Prince of Life . . . You are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers; saying unto Abraham, and in your seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first, God having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. Acts 3: 13-15; 25-26.

Jesus prayed for the forgiveness of his murderers. He must have prayed in faith, for he condemns all other prayer. He believed that even his disciples' prayers would be answered, - and of course his own - and Peter declares that these wicked men for whom Jesus prayed, were to be delivered from their iniquities. And if this be true, certainly no human sin can fail, sooner or later, to receive the divine forgiveness.

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