well, looks like we are looking at this in pretty much the same way at this point, so i thank you very much for your replies, you've been very helpful.Yeah, that would be good enough. But Jesus was also expressing His consent as well. For example, the very next verses have this: Luke 23:35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. 36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, 37 And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. Now that Jesus didn't take Himself off the cross or smite all those against Him doesn't say (to the Christian) that He didn't possess the power or the right of appeal to the Father to have done that. Here is a little longer passage where Jesus talks of this: Matthew 26:47 And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. 48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. 49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. 50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus and took him. 51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. 52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? Your original questions were: "Did Jesus want God to actually forgive these people without them realizing the error of their ways and repenting? Did God forgive them, and why? What does that forgiveness mean, that is to say what was the effect of the forgiveness?" I don't believe Jesus ministered salvation to them in His request to the Father. We know that Jesus had the power to forgive in salvation Himself and did not need to petition the Father regarding that. We see this just a few verses later when Jesus ministers salvation to the repentent thief (Luke 23:39-43). So Jesus' statement was a request and an expression of agreement between the Father and the Son. Allow them their part without summary judgment, without hardening their hearts to knowing the truth at some future time where they might realize the error of their ways and find repentance and salvation through the work that I am performing in my death and resurrection. There is tension presented in the Gospels concerning this. For example, Jesus prays three times about the necessity: Matthew 26:37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. 40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. 42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. 43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. 44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Exactly. However, it is that the consequence of sin is death, not the punishment. They were already in jeopardy of the judgment without the further offense, and also they were ignorant of these offenses. As you offered, they had not realized the error of their ways and repented. Their condition had more to do then with just their present actions. I think you should understand by now that the saying wasn't about extending saving grace to the soldiers separate from that which Jesus was accomplishing at the cross; at least from my viewpoint. Jesus wasn't saving them in His request. I think it is fine to look at it as a rhetorical gesture that finds its meaning in the agreement between Jesus Christ and the Father and the necessity of the cross. I think you are right on top of the proper way to view what Jesus was saying.