Thursday, April 30, 2009

To Please His Heavenly Father

Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief.

Isaiah 53:10

Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:2
*******************

Jesus did not wrestle his angry Father to the floor of heaven and take the whip out of his hand. He did not force him to be merciful to humanity. His death was not the begrudging consent of God to be lenient to sinners. No, what Jesus did when he suffered and died was the Father's idea. It was a breathtaking strategy, conceived even before creation, as God saw and planned the history of the world. That is why the Bible speaks of God's "purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began" (2 Timothy 1:9).

But what is most astonishing about this substitution of Christ for sinners is that it was God's idea. Christ did not intrude on God's plan to punish sinners. God planned for him to be there. One Old Testament prophet says, "It was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief" (Isaiah 53:10).

This explains the paradox of the New Testament. On the one hand, the suffering of Christ is an outpouring of God's wrath because of sin. But on the other hand, Christ's suffering is a beautiful act of submission and obedience to the will of the Father. So Christ cried from the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46). And yet the Bible says that the suffering of Christ was a fragrance to God. "Christ loved us and gave himself for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Ephesians 5:2).

Oh, that we might worship the terrible wonder of the love of God! It is not sentimental. It is not simple. For our sake God did the impossible: He poured out his wrath on his own Son-- the one whose submission made him infinitely unworthy to receive it. Yet the Son's very willingness to receive it was precious in God's sight. The wrath bearer was infinitely loved.


4 comments:

Tricia said...

Beautiful post. Thank you.

KinaBolina said...

Beautiful photos!
Thank you for the reminder...it is all because of Him.
xoxo Caroline

Elizabeth J. said...

A good reminder of Christ sacrifice for us. The pictures were pretty too.

Anderson family said...

Wow! Thank you for posting the pictures and the article; they were very encouraging!
-BGA