According to Roman and Jewish law crucifixions could not be held within the city walls. Nevertheless, Rome made sure that crucifixions remained a public spectacle. The gruesome executions always drew a crowd, which was all part of the master plan. Rome wanted people to see enemies of the empire hanging from their crosses to teach a powerful lesson: stay in line, or this could be you. Archeologists and scholars believe that Jesus was likely crucified near a main gate on the western side of the city called Gennath, which allowed for maximum visibility and exposure to the travelers coming in and out of the city for the celebration of Passover.

Read Luke 23:33-38 silently.

Luke recorded several details about the crowd that gathered around Jesus’s cross that day. As you read, make a list of the different groups of people Luke mentions and their actions at the cross.

Jesus looked at the men who were nailing His hands and feet to a cross and said, “forgive them.”

He looked at the church people of His day who mocked Him and said, “forgive them.”

He heard the soldiers who taunted Him, daring Him to act like a king and come off the cross.

He looked for his twelve, his closest friends. They were not there.

He still said, “forgive them.”

Read Hebrews 8:12 and 1 Peter 2:24 aloud.

Jesus’s death on the cross that day made forgiveness of all sin possible. Peter- one of his twelve disciples, one of the ones who was absent at the cross, later wrote that Jesus bore all of our sin on that cross. All sin. Past sin. Present sin. Future sin.

All of it.

Just as He forgave the sins of those in the crowd around the cross, He has forgiven your sin and will remember it no more. He forgives us when we deny Him with our actions and choices. He forgives us when we keep making the same mistakes over and over, unable to break the cycle. He forgives us when we keep going back. When we can’t stop. When we know better. He forgives us before we even ask for it. Before we’re ready to say we’re sorry. Before we know who all we have hurt. Before we understand the depth of what we have done.

He forgives us.

He forgives first so that we know we can always come home to Him.
He forgives first so that we would know we can come to Him, no matter what.
He forgives first so that we would know His grace.
He forgives first so that we would know He is there when we don’t deserve it.
He forgives first so that we would know He always takes the first step toward us.

His forgiveness is bigger than we could ever understand.

No matter what you have done, He has already forgiven you.

Will you say goodbye to all the things that are haunting you?