A STAGGERING THOUGHT - Week of January 17th

By Judy Nichols

January 17, 2016

As a loving parent, I always hated having to punish my children for their wrongdoing. I knew it was necessary for their growth and development, but there is no joy in meting out discipline. I don’t think I ever said, "This hurts me as much as it hurts you," as some parents reportedly have said. I just cringed inwardly, and with a heavy heart administered the consequences.

As part of my nightly prayers, I make it a point to thank Jesus for taking the punishment I deserved. We rightly focus on His sacrifice – the rejection, betrayal, pain, humiliation, and abandonment – that won our forgiveness and redemption. But one night it suddenly occurred to me that our Heavenly Father also suffered incomprehensible pain in pouring out His just wrath against sin upon His beloved only Begotten Son.

I can’t imagine how terrible I would have felt if I had punished my child for something and then found out someone else had done it. How terrible must God have felt knowingly pouring out His wrath upon His Son who had lived a perfectly sinless life? It must have absolutely ripped His heart out. Jesus in no way deserved the punishment. He had never sinned and had fulfilled all the positive commandments in the law, as well. He had not only done His Father’s will in loving obedience, but also said He "always [did] the things that are pleasing to Him."

It might be tempting to think it unjust of God to do this. There is no doubt that the trial and death of Jesus Christ constitutes the greatest miscarriage of justice in the history of the world. But that is only from the human standpoint. The Scripture makes it abundantly clear that the sacrificial death of the second Person of the Trinity had been planned in the depths of eternity, long before the creation of the world, let alone the fall of mankind.

Centuries before Jesus would be born Isaiah prophesied that God’s Servant would be "cut off from the land of the living for the transgression of My people to whom the stroke was due . . . although He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth" (Isa. 53:8-9). And on the day of Pentecost, Peter declared to the crowd that Jesus had been "delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23).

I’ve no doubt that the suffering and death of Christ did hurt the Father every bit as much as it hurt Jesus. It is a staggering thought that, for the likes of such puny human creatures as we are, the God of the universe would subject Himself to such pain. My parental love for my children pales in comparison to such a love.

© Judy Nichols 2016

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