Read 2 Corinthians 5:19
19 For God was in Christ,reconciling the world to himself,no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. (NLT)
There is a disturbingly common view going around that suggests that a rather nasty,vindictive,stern God caused a lovely and pleasant Jesus to die a cruel death on the cross. Even some Christians succumb to such thinking. Jesus becomes the nice guy while God remains the bad guy.
This is a sad travesty of what really happened on the cross. As Paul makes clear,God was not a distant spectator of the events of Good Friday. He was somehow ‘in’ Christ,he can be called a crucified God. True,Jesus experienced utter separation from him for a time as he died: bearing all human wrongdoing on himself meant he endured the penalty for such wrongdoing which was separation from God.
And yet,we dare not imagine a stern-faced God watching his son endure such torture. Might we not better imagine a weeping God,who realised-as did Jesus-that only such a death would bring about reconciliation between humankind and himself.
The Father did not tyrannically demand that his Son should die. We might stretch language a bit and suggest they decided it between themselves. There was no coercion. No nasty God and nice Jesus. When Jesus died,he was both distinct from God and yet one with him. This is way beyond the categories of niceness and nastiness. This was love and grace expressed through pain and loss.