What kind of God would kill his Son?

Did Christ die to suppress or appease God’s anger? But that’s a horrible picture of God. What kind of God would take out his frustrations on his Son? Imagine how the newspapers would treat that today if a human father was so incensed with anger that he had his son tortured to death. It would be front page news as a worst-case example of child abuse.

But was it anger that drove God to have Jesus tortured? Not according to Jesus. In his words, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.” It was done in love, not anger. But how can giving up one’s Son to be tortured be an act of love? Because Jesus agreed with it. The cruciifixion was done with the full consent of Jesus “who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age,” Galatians 1:4.

Jesus gave himself. He wasn’t forced into it. This was something he and his Father planned together from the very beginning. Jesus would be “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world,” Revelation 13:8 – but Jesus totally agreed with it, and he told us so himself: “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life…I lay it down of my own accord,” John 10:17-18. Jesus gave his life willingly, by his own free choice.

But why did Father and Son agree to such a horrible death for Jesus? Because “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends,” John 15:13. God loves us, but how would we humans know it? By the greatest proof of love there is, the giving up of one’s life for another. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” Romans 5:8.

Jesus willingly died for us at our worst, when we were enemies of God. His love, therefore, went much further than dying for a friend. He died for people who weren’t friends at all, who wanted nothing to do with him or his Father. But if going to the Cross and to a shocking, undeserved, horrible death of his own choosing would help convince rebellious, hateful. stubborn, disinterested humanity that God truly loves them, then it was all wonderfully worth it.

What kind of God, then, would kill his Son? A God who has a Son who loves humanity as much as he does. But God wasn’t killing his Son in the first place. It was Jesus’ own choice to die.


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