Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke seven times while hanging on the Cross of Calvary. We find the first saying in Luke 23:34. Jesus Christ spoke to the Father in prayer and asked "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
Reading through the gospel accounts we never find Christ asking the Father to forgive anyone. Consider the following verses as the explanation why: Luke 5:21-24 "21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? 22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? 23 Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? 24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house."
The scribes and Pharisees were accusing Jesus of blasphemy because they knew that only God could forgive sins. Jesus acknowledged and confirmed that He was God in the flesh because He did have the power to forgive sins. He was their long awaited Messiah but they rejected Him (John 1:10-11).
Now when we come to the Cross Jesus cries "Father, forgive them." Though Christ never ceased to be fully God He became fully man. As God, Jesus Christ had the power to forgive sins because God has no sin, can not sin, and will not sin. However, the scriptures teach us in I Peter 2:24 "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." That is, Christ who was the sin forgiver before the Cross is now is sin bearer on the Cross.
Romans 8:3 "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:"
II Corinthians 5:21 "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
This is why Jesus Christ cried out continuously from the Cross "Father, forgive them". Jesus Christ took the awfulness of our sins upon Himself and became sin for us. He was dying as the last Adam to redeem the lost sons and daughters of Adam back to their Creator. This prayer by our Lord Jesus Christ is still being answered today because of what He did over 2,000 years ago. God does not forgive us for our sake, He forgives us for Christ' sake. Forgiveness has been provided by the Lamb of God!
Ephesians 4:32 "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God forChrist's sake hath forgiven you."
Romans 8:32 "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"