Why Did Jesus Ask God to Forgive Those Crucifying Him?


Among Jesus’s last words on the cross before he died were: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Jesus could have forgiven his tormentors on his own without taking God’s name, such as when he performed many miracles in God’s name. Why did he pray to God this time? My interpretation is that Jesus knew that this act would make even God angry, who is never angry, and hence he sought God’s forgiveness for his tormentors, while Jesus himself had already forgiven his tormentors. Please explain.

—Ajay, USA


Dear Ajay, What a beautiful and amazing act of compassion it was for Jesus to ask his Heavenly Father to forgive those who were crucifying him.

Remember that Jesus said: “I and my Father are one,” so therefore, no, he did not NEED to pray this prayer. Nevertheless, these words of Jesus set an excellent example for everyone for what to do when someone is persecuting you in any way. Pray for them! Forgive them! And then, if you find you can’t seem to fully forgive them, ask God to do it through you or perhaps even for you.

No, I’m sure Jesus understood very well that God could never be angry anyone or anything, for God IS everyone and everything. Paramhansa Yogananda clearly explained that God dwells within in every atom of creation! Yogananda also says that every single word said or any action done by a great Master or Avatar (such as Jesus), is an important teaching in itself, to which we should pay close attention.

These powerful words of Jesus’s deserve deep contemplation, and we should seek always to put them into practice in our daily lives.