This is love

We believe in Jesus Christ… who was crucified, died and was buried,
and descended into the grave.

I John 4:10

This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

How can anything as gruesome as a crucifixion be a revelation of God’s love? These days it is more likely to be described as a case of ‘cosmic child abuse’: an angry Father punishing an innocent Son. If love is to be found there at all, surely it must be a loving Son appeasing an angry Father. But John uses the Cross as the supreme example of God’s love…

Our error lies in pitching the Son against the Father, as if they were two completely separate individuals. But Jesus always insisted that He had been sent by His Father and was doing His Father’s will – a will that He gladly obeyed, right up to the most harrowing of ends. “I have come down from heaven not to do My will but to do the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 6:38) In order to reconcile the rebellious human race to Himself, God must take the consequences of that rebellion on Himself, in the Person of His Son. And God suffers both anguish (as a loving Father who must watch His beloved Son die) and agony (as a loving Son who will do whatever it takes in order to set the human race free).

“This is love…” Can we see it? And can we be unmoved by it?

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