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The First Words from the Cross

May 2, 2019

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34 (NIV)

The soldiers took hammers and long metal spikes, and they nailed the Son of God to a beam of wood. They lifted him up on a pole and dropped it into a hole in the ground. Then Jesus spoke for the first time from the cross: “They do not know what they are doing.”

The men who nailed Jesus to the cross didn’t think they were doing anything wrong. They didn’t have a bad conscience, and they certainly didn’t feel that they needed to ask God for forgiveness.

These men were right in the middle of committing the most terrible sin in the history of the human race, and Jesus said that they did not know what they were doing. How is that even possible? This tells us something of huge importance…

We cannot know what sin is simply from our own feelings about what is right and what is wrong. If you trust your own heart, your own intuition about right and wrong, you will sin and go on sinning, without even knowing it.

We need God to tell us what sin is, and the good news is that he does this through his law. That is why you and I need God’s Word. Even the apostle Paul had to admit: “I would not have known what sin was except through the law” (Romans 7:7).

Do you see your own need of God’s law? Why or why not?


The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.



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