In his first sermon (Mark 1) Jesus offers a simple message: “Repent and believe the gospel.” As he hangs on the cross some 3 years later, what is Jesus doing? We have only a handful of words spoken by Jesus during the crucifixion, but there are some powerful lessons to be shared in them.
As he hangs on the cross, he was in between two thieves. One of them mocked Jesus, but the other asked to be remembered by him. Jesus replied that he would be with him in paradise. Even while dying on the cross, Jesus won a convert!
But even more amazing: Jesus said the prayer of intercession for the very people crucifying him that day. Not just of the Roman soldiers, but for those really responsible, including the Jewish people, the priests and the Sanhedrin. “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He prayed for the very people taking his life. Taking the form of a servant is one thing. Washing feet is another. Praying for those that despitefully use you is another entirely. But none of those compare to asking forgiveness for the very people that are nailing you to a cross, where you will slowly bleed and die.