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Dennis On: ""For God So Loved the World...." A very sincere question to consider
"For God So Loved the
A very sincere question to
I would like to seriously and
sincerely reopen a question I have had for years about the teaching that God
gave his only son, Jesus, as a sacrifice for us. I believe this
audience would be able to draw on scores of scriptures to this effect so I
will not reproduce them here.
What I would like to ask, and
sincerely so, is "In what way is Jesus death a real death and in what way
did God give his son?"
I know our initial reaction is "on
the cross" or "he turned his back on Jesus and abandoned him at death," or
"Jesus gave his life for us..." etc. But in what way? From my
perspective, it was not in anyway I can identify with as a human and the
"loss" God suffered is not like any loss I have seen in the faces of parents
who lost real children in death.
My personal problem with the
concept is that from all accounts, well most, Jesus knew he would
die but also that he would return better than ever in a mere three days
and not in the flesh, but back at the right hand of God. In what way
is that a sacrifice? Every sacrifice that died in the entire Bible
stayed dead. Jesus merely appears as a sacrifice but in a way that is
not really like all the so called '"types." Jesus death was not like
human death. It was almost like a play that has a really good ending
once we get to the end. It seems more like going through the motions
but not really the emotions.
Now granted, it is no fun to die at
a young age, but hundreds of thousands and millions have done it before and
since Jesus. But they are all dead and gone. I can't imagine any
grief lasting long if the families and friends of those who have died would
have had to wait a mere three days to get them back better than ever. I
can't even imagine any of those who died being all that upset if the knew,
as Jesus and God evidently did that they would be back shortly better than
ever. That's not dying. That's stepping out for a bit and coming
right back. That is not what humans call death nor parents who have
lost a child, a tragedy that eats their soul up for the rest of their lives.
God the Father knew, evidently,
what his plan was and could bring his "only begotten son that he gave
back quickly. I can't do that. No parent of any children I have
buried can do that . How can this be said to be the most amazing
parental sacrifice in the history of the world? I can see if the
figure of Jesus STAYED DEAD and was not himself ever to be part of the
coming Kingdom. Now that would be a sacrifice on the part of both
Jesus and God the Father. But this mere "weekend inconvenience," seems
to fall far short of that? I ask sincerely for an
In what way would God have agonized
over Jesus death if it was merely a short weekend event from which God would
easily recover the life of his son?
In what way is this the most
amazing sacrifice of all time? (Thousands of humans have been
crucified, skinned alive , boiled alive and burned to death which would seem
far more hideous than any six hour death on a cross.) I have my doubts
about Jesus being "marred above any other," as well but will leave that for
another time. Death on the cross is generally a days long event where no
burial is afforded the criminal and the body is left to fall off the cross
to be eaten by dogs. Jesus had the burial of a King with little of the
humiliation that would normally accompany such events. I'm sure many
would have said in his day that "Jesus got off easy. He died really
I have recalled how this question
came to me when a client told me she lost her only child in an
accident. After telling me how little help her church had been trying
to encourage her with, "God won't give you more than you can bare," "at
least you have other children," (She didn't) or "At least you will see her
again in heaven," the Pastor himself made the mistake of his theological
career. He told her that "well, God lost his only child too."
"Uh oh.." I remember
thinking. He sure stepped into that. I asked what she said and
she assured me that she screamed "NO!" at the minister and then said,
"Jesus seems to have known he would die and come back in three days. God
knew He was going to resurrect him in a mere three days better than
ever. My daughter is still dead! A real sacrifice should stay
dead. Jesus death was merely a weekend inconvenience for both Jesus
and His Father."
Ugh....I just listened and thought
that she , in her grief and clarity, had hit on something so deeply
disturbing to me that I later wrote about it. I asked what the
minister said and she said he just looked at her and said NOTHING.
Probably the best think he could have done under the
It is a sincere observation and it
has raised a deeply troubling but sincere question in myself since
So in sincerity I ask, In
what way did God so love the world that he gave his only begotten
son....? How was it the most amazing sacrifice of all time?
Should not a real sacrifice stay dead? And why would Jesus actual
death which quickly was remedied by a better than ever resurrection be
considered some kind of substitution for ours?
I simply have no answer for this
observation and if I were still a minister and this was thrown in my face
while someone was grieving the real loss of a child, would have nothing to
say but, "that's a good question. I don't