Saturday, December 16
Several times in the upper room discourse, Jesus stated that he had been sent by the Father. If we think about this at all, we think of Christ becoming incarnate and living a unique life on earth. I think Jesus had a narrower and more crucial focus. He was sent by the Father to die a cruel death on a cross. Yes, he was sent to reveal the Father and to be a role model for us, but the primary reason was to die to redeem sinners. Revealing the Father and being a role model would have meant nothing had he not died for our sins. We need to remember, too, that the Son agreed to be sent. The divine decision was made before the foundation of the world. All of this had to be very much on Jesus’ mind as he spoke to his disciples in the upper room just hours before facing the cross. When I think about this and especially that close relationship between the Father and Son, I’m in deep awe. I think back to Abraham sacrificing his son, Isaac, which was God’s way of illustrating how it would be with his own son when facing the cross. But Isaac was spared; Jesus was not. And for Jesus, he was not just facing the reality of dying a cruel death, he was thinking of the agony of the Father facing this moment, too. The most grievous moment of all for both Father and Son was when the Father had to turn away from his beloved Son because of our sin. We can’t fully understand the trauma of that crucial moment. God sent his Son to the cross, the Son fully agreed to it and carried it out—to our benefit. Just a partial understanding of that sacrifice should prompt us to heart-felt gratitude and immeasurable joy.