I hate suffering, mine or anyone else’s. Jesus’ suffering on the cross especially troubled me.
Over the years I heard many teachings about Jesus’ crucifixion.
God was usually presented as an angry God, Who sent His Son to do a dirty job, refused to let Him out of the deal, and then turned His back on Him while He was suffering.
Worse than that, it was implied that all that happened to Jesus was exactly what God wanted to do to us because of our awful sins.
The only thing that stopped His Rage and Fearsome Judgement was Jesus taking our place.
Year after year, I heard the Easter Story told that way. I felt shame in my sins. I felt God’s Anger toward me. I felt relief that Jesus was willing to take my place.
When I was told I was saved, I thought Jesus saved me from God because I was bad and God hated me. It made me want to run to Jesus, but stay away from God.
I did not understand how torturing and killing your children could possibly be God’s Good Plan.
God said His Plans were good. I wanted to believe what He promised, as recorded in Jeremiah 29:11.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
But if what God supposedly did to Jesus was His Good Plan, I was afraid of what kind of “good plan” He might have for me.
I began to ask Christians to explain the cross to me. Many simply recited, “Jesus died on the cross for my sins.” Some said I needed to be grateful and not overthink it.
But I wanted to know more. I believed there was more to know. Finally I found one who could answer my questions. It was someone who had been there. It was The One.
The answer to my uneasy questions about Easter began with one simple revelation. What I had been taught about God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit was true. They were Together One God. And there was never a moment when They were apart.
The evil placed upon Jesus at the cross was part of the ultimate battle of good and evil. The simple answer to the cross was revealed to Paul.
“For the wages of sin is death, but The Gift of God is Eternal Life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Satan is a reliable pay master. When we sin, he wants to be sure we get paid what we earn. He wants us to experience death in every way possible.
We would all be in satan’s pay line, except for the Amazing Gift of God. God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit United were all at the cross together as One to save us. We did need saving … but saving from satan, not God.
Isaiah long before the crucifixion of Jesus foretold that people would get confused and think God was to blame for Jesus’ suffering. But Isaiah pointed out it was The One Who chose to take on the evil being dispensed by satan.
“He certainly has taken upon Himself our suffering and carried our sorrows, but we thought that God had wounded Him, beat Him, and punished Him.”
The Glorious One God is with us today. When satan drives another nail into the list of our sins on the cross he is preparing for us, he laughs in anticipation of paying us.
And The One God, Who is with us always, will ask us, “Would you like Me to pick up your pay check for you?”
Jesus Himself explained it.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”
God is not here to condemn you. He is here to save you.
But you get to choose whether to receive the wages you earned or The Gift God wants to give you. Which do you choose?