As I caught the tail end of The Passion of Christ on TV on Saturday afternoon, I thought
1. “Wow, this is really gory.”
2. “Why did Mel Gibson portray the Crucifixion with so much (if historically precise) bloody detail?”
3. “What was God’s intent in making Jesus, his Son, undergo such a gruesome death anyways?”
The standard “Sunday School” answer is that Jesus had to undergo the punishment that I, as a rebel and sinner, was supposed to suffer, so that He could serve as my substitute when it was my turn to be judged by God, the Father.
Sure, that explanation, “made sense”, but it never really sat well with me. After all, why should Jesus’ physical suffering have spiritual significance? Why couldn’t Jesus just have died of “natural causes”? He’d have still lived a perfect life and been able to serve as the perfect sacrifice, no?
Then, today, an alternate (and personally more satisfying, though not theologically verified) explanation came to me. The physical pain that Jesus experienced during his trial and crucifixion WAS NOT all that he suffered. The physical torment was an outward reflection of, and served to illustrate, the spiritual agony Jesus was about to undergo: the timeless and infinite connection between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit was soon to be sundered. The Son would be a momentarily yet eternally torn from the blissful fellowship of the Trinity. He would be banished from the Light of Life, Goodness, and Hope and plunged into the Darkness of Death, Evil, and Despair. The Darkness that I was headed for, the Darkness that I deserved.
That was the price that Jesus, the Son of God, paid for my soul.
Because of His payment, I have instead been invited into to be a son of the God who made the universe, the God of Light and Life.
Jesus. Savior, Lord, and King.
Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ