“He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32
The question of who killed Jesus is one that echoes throughout history with many answers in possibility. The Romans nailed Him, the Jewish leaders indicted Him, all of humanity’s sin required Him, but truly, it was ultimately all according to the Father’s plan.
That’s difficult to hear and understand because God is love (1 John 4:8). But indeed, it was love that caused Jesus to endure the Cross, and it was love that led the Father to pour out His wrath upon Jesus to atone for the sins of the world. “This Jesus [was] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23).
“For our sake He (the Father) made Him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Romans 3:25 says, “God put [Him] forward as a propitiation by His blood.” Isaiah 53 puts it even more bluntly, “We esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God. . . . It was the will of the Lord to crush Him; He (His Father!) has put Him to grief” (Isaiah 53:4, 10).
Saved from God
Jesus hung on that Cross as a proxy for you and me—for all of humanity. He took the punishment of sin that humanity deserved so that we didn’t have to. Our salvation in Jesus truly is a salvation from the punishment from the Father for our sins.
“Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him!” Romans 5:9, (emphasis mine)
Saved for God
The glaringly obvious questions are “Why would God kill His son to save us?” “What are we saved from?” and most importantly “What are we saved for?”
“And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9, (emphasis mine)
Though we are the recipients of salvation’s many gifts (freedom from punishment, shame, dysfunction, and death), the ultimate end and reason for salvation is for God. It’s the very reason God created humanity in the first place. Jesus’ death is the only answer for the separation from God brought on by the Fall.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
The Father’s love for the world propelled Jesus to that Cross. Just how much does God love us? As much as He loves Jesus. Jesus prays to the Father: “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” John 17:23, (emphasis mine)
“…God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8, (emphasis mine)
Saved by God
The Cross is the answer to history’s greatest problem: how can a righteous God dwell with a sinful people? If He ignores our sin and spares us, He is not just and holy.
John Piper says, “God did not spare His own Son, because it was the only way He could spare us and still be a just and holy God. The guilt of our transgressions, the punishment of our iniquities, the curse of our sin would have brought us inescapably to the destruction of hell. But God did not spare His own Son; He gave Him up to be pierced for our transgressions, and crushed for our iniquities, and crucified for our sins.”
“…our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” 2 Tim. 1:10
So this Good Friday, let’s remember that we’re not saved for our own gain but cherish in the truth that we are saved by the Son in order to be reconciled to the Father.