And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do… Luke 23:34
Regarding this verse Bishop J. C. Ryle wrote,
These words were probably spoken while our Lord was being nailed to the cross, or as soon as the cross was reared up on end. It is worthy of remark that as soon as the blood of the Great Sacrifice began to flow, the Great High Priest began to intercede.
Isaiah says that, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” Isaiah 53:7.
However, it seems that our Silent Lamb does speak or rather, he intercedes:
He poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53:12 (emphasis mine).
As the spilling of the Silent Lamb’s life blood was to cause his death, he, our Great High Priest interceded to the Father with words that would bring us life – ‘forgive them’.
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. …he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:11-12; 26-28
This is our absolution!
You who confess Jesus as Lord and have placed your trust in the Great High Priest’s atoning blood; by the authority and merit of Jesus Christ – your sins have been forgiven.
Go with the knowledge that by grace through faith in Jesus Christ there is now therefore, no condemnation – you are forgiven.