Guest post by Renee Axtell –
one of the stars of the Easter Call-In Challenge has sent us her thoughts from the amber waves of Kansas.
Should we stop saying that God sent Jesus to die?
My answer is yes. We should stop saying that God sent Jesus to die, because that implies that God’s intention prior to Jesus’s birth was to send Him to die, and that would be mean. A loving God doesn’t do mean things.
But… if you accept the premise that God knows everything that’s knowable, and the future isn’t knowable (because it hasn’t happened yet), then God couldn’t have known for sure that Jesus would be crucified.
It doesn’t take a Divine Mind to figure out that a person doing and thinking the things that Jesus did and said in first century Palestine was going to get crucified. I think that explains Jesus’s predictions of his own death found in the gospels. But just because you can predict something is likely to happen doesn’t make it your will or your desire.
I’ve got teenagers. I know teenagers are going to do things that are going to have painful results. That doesn’t mean that it’s my will as a parent that they do those things and experience those painful results, but it’s highly predictable.
So the Father sends the Son into a dangerous situation, the worst case scenario happens, and Jesus ends up getting crucified. God sees this and says, “I can use this for something good. In fact, since this evil thing happened to my Son, I’m going to use this to do literally The Best Thing Ever and defeat death and redeem the world.”
That’s just what God does. “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) As the Messiah, Jesus had the ultimate calling and therefore God used His death to achieve the ultimate purpose, the redemption of the world.
It wasn’t merely the disciples that ascribed meaning to Jesus’s death after the fact, it was God. Your blog post makes it sound like the disciples were making stuff up and attributing meaning to something that wasn’t really there. The meaning was there because God put it there. The disciples were engaged in the discovery of that meaning, and we continue that process of discovery today.
Tripp and I loved that THAT cross had a surplus of meaning from God – the disciples only brought it out and proclaimed it.
What do you think?