The Tulip Driven Life Podcast

Monday, January 10, 2011

Was God Humiliating Jesus By Sending Him to The Cross?

I have heard some who do not trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior from sin say that God dishonored His Son Jesus Christ by sending Him to live and die on the cross for sinners, bearing the penalty of sin of God's people in His own body on the cross. Some, I believe atheists Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, go so far as to say that what God did is equivalent to 'cosmic child abuse." Their argument is that God punished Jesus with sin that He did not commit, and God made Jesus do this, therefore, God is a terrible, abusive, evil parent.

I want to briefly give Christians ammo to counter and disprove such an idiotic argument. Firstly, Jesus WANTED to do the will of His Father. In other words, God's plan to offer up Jesus as the sin bearer and substitute for His people is something that Jesus wanted to do. Nor did Jesus have to be talked into coming down to live and die for the salvation of sinners. There was no disagreement in the Godhead. Jesus, of His own free will, desired and chose to give Himself for His people, and He did this for two reasons- because He loves His people and He loves His Father.

John 10:11-18 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. 17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

Here we clearly see that Jesus loves His people ("I lay down My life for the sheep") and that He loves His Father clearly from other passages such as John 8:29 "And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him" or John 6:38 "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent me."

So Jesus is doing what He wants because He wants to honor and obey His Father and because He wants to save His people from their sins. The Father is well pleased with His Son because the Son is obedient and doing the will of His Father with gladness and delight. Now the simple question is this: Does that sound ANYTHING like child abuse? No not at all, because it isn't.

Furthermore, there IS a reason why God has willed to offer up His Son as the sin-bearing substitute for His sheep. The answer to this one is quite easy and quite obvious if you are a Christian- to glorify Himself, through the praise of the glory of His grace in saving us from our sins when we did not deserve it by sending His Son Jesus to pay for our sins in our place (Ephesians 1:3-14 clearly shows this) and also to sanctify, set apart, a people for Himself, zealous for good works and to honor, glorify, and praise Him (Ephesians 2:10 as well as many others).

Also, there is at least one other reason, and I think we often lose sight of this one, but it is also very important and true. God also sent Jesus to die for sinners not just to glorify God the Father, but also God the Son, Jesus Christ Himself. Remember, greatness is serving. What is the single greatest act of love, the most selfless, sacrificing, act ever committed by man? It is Jesus Christ, as a man, living a sinless, perfect, righteous life FOR HIS SHEEP, and also dying the death of sin, bearing the infinite wrath of God in His own body, on the cross, for all the sins of every one of God's chosen people.

Of course, this makes no sense to the lost, unbelieving world and especially to people like Richard Dawkins because they are still spiritually dead in their sins and therefore love themselves and live for themselves rather than living for God and for others as we were all created to do. So their problem is a spiritual one, a righteous one, a moral one, not an intellectual problem. Their problem with God and Jesus and what He did on the cross is a problem with their own heart, their own wickedness. Let us not forget the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:18 "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." We should be thankful that God has chosen to give us eyes to see and ears to hear the gospel and to savingly trust in it.

The cross of Christ, His life, death, burial, and resurrection, are not merely a testament to his love and grace and mercy, but also His power. Remember, Christ rose from the grave! It is His resurrection that gives us salvation from sin just as much as his life and death. If Christ was still in the grave, He would not have satisfied God's wrath against our sin, He would not have defeated sin, for remember, the sting of sin, the wages of sin, is death. But Christ has overcome the grave, He has risen, and this demonstrates the power of Christ, and this as well gives Him all the glory, honor, and praise.

So indeed, far from being cosmic child abuse, what Christ did on earth, which was what He wanted to do and what God willed that he would do, brought Christ honor. God was honoring His Son by ordaining Him to be the One who would take away the sins of His people. This is undeniable as Jesus Himself states in John 8:54 "If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God."

So was God humiliating and/or abusing Jesus by sending Him to live and Ddie for His people? No, on the contrary, He was honoring Him, demonstrated by His people giving Him all the honor, glory and praise for what He did on the cross to save them from their slavery to sin and give them eternal life in Christ.

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