We can all recall the story of Abraham being asked by God to sacrifice his beloved son and how a pained Abraham prepares to obey God. God spares Isaac confident in Abraham’s Love in Him. Abraham is asked to hold nothing back from God and he is willing to surrender his most precious gift to God in Love. Yet, God spares Abraham the loss of Isaac.
On Good Friday, we see the Son offered in sacrifice for the sin of the people. We can ask why God permits it to be. It rests in free will, given to us that we can have the capacity to love it also comes with our capacity to sin. However, if God withdraws our freedom, He takes away our ability love and that he will not do. And so, the God of Love endures the pain of the free will of some crucifying His Son. He does this because God holds nothing back from us. No sacrifice is too great for Love.
As the cross is lifted on Calvary, it would seem that the story has ended. This is a public execution. It is meant to serve as an example to silence the followers of Jesus. It is meant to signal out to the world, look what will happen if you follow Him.
From the cross, Jesus cries out to the Father, My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Jesus has not been shielded from human pain, suffering and despair. Yet, even still He cries out to His Abba when his suffering becomes more than he can bear. Yet, Scripture has the Father remaining silent. Even still, Jesus’s prayer doesn’t end in despair. Rather, he trusts in his Abba fully and prays, Father, Into Your hands I commend my spirit.
While scripture does not capture the Father’s words, the agony of the Father is made known as Jesus dies on the cross. We see this as the veil in the temple is torn, the sun darkens and the earth groans and quakes. There are no words for this. The same free will that is given to us to be able to love God, is the same free will that chooses to crucify the Son of God.
As we pray this day and meditate on Christ’s passion this day, we recall Christ’s saving action and recall that His death is for our sakes also. This act of self-giving isn’t simply historical. It is meant for you and me, here and now, and for all people and all times to come.