I’ve been told there’s only one thing worse than dying, and that’s watching one of your own children die. There’s nothing more heart wrenching than to see a Father and Mother bury a son or a daughter. That’s the case, of course, with Jesus death—a Father buries a son. But, there’s more. What if I told you that the heavenly Father had always planned to bury his Son, because it was the Father who masterminded His Son’s death.
It feels scandalous to say, and I’d resist it at every turn, even call it a divine accident, if the Scripture were not so clear in making this point. At Pentecost, with thousands of people listening in, Peter has the audacity to say that Jesus death was premeditated and planned by his Father.
It’s disturbing at best, especially when you consider the history of the relationship. For all eternity, the Father and Jesus with the Spirit have been united in a dance of divine love. Never apart, always together, they’ve only ever known the pleasure of absolute oneness. “I and the Father are one,” Jesus said, “to see me is to see the Father.”
How is it then that Jesus who knew only perfect oneness with the Father came to know forsakenness by the Father on the cross? One things for sure: if the Father and the Son are as close as the Scriptures say, then there’s no way the Father could plan the death of Jesus without Jesus being in on the planning too.
But why would Jesus ever join his Father in planning his own death? Well, it’s because they shared a dream—a dream to be united with you in the divine dance of love. One thing I ask, Father, “…that they may be one with us, even as we are one.” For this oneness to be forged, Jesus and His Father would have to pass through the most agonizing separation. Martin Buber called it, “an eclipse of God.” Yes, for this dream to really live, Jesus would have to really die. “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.”
Today we remember the separation that brought oneness, the blood that brought life, the wrath that brought love. Today we remember that the answer to Jesus own prayer came in the cross. And, if you can see it, the answer to all your prayers can be found there too.