In all of the present and increasing controversy over Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion, little or nothing is said about the role of God the Father, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Israel’s God, in the suffering and Crucifixion of Jesus. It is as if Jesus is some novel and autonomous figure doing his own thing and constituting by it a vexation for us Jews by precipitating the historic violence that the cry of ‘deicide’ has historically occasioned.
How remarkable a corollary it is to observe how God is omitted from virtually all Jewish discussion of Israel and world Jewry’s increasing predicament. He is not considered as a causative factor and neither than can He be considered as a solution. Likewise, is He omitted in every public Jewish response to the Crucifixion? Ought we Jews not to ask, where was God?
The New Testament, of which we remain profoundly ignorant and unwilling to consider, is not shy in answering that question. In I John 4 we read “Love lies in this, not in our love for Him but in His love for us—in the sending of His Son to be the propitiation for our sins…and we have seen and can testify, that the Father has sent the Son as the Savior of the world” (verses10, 14). Notice, the Father has sent; God Himself is the causative agent; the Son the obedient instrument. If we have a controversy then, ought it not to be with God Himself, the Sender? Indeed, in the wisdom of the Most High, if we could but see it, the issue of Jesus is the issue of GOD!
In the discussion of Atonement (propitiation cited above) in the Book of Hebrews addressed to Jewish inquirers and believers in Jesus, the author makes clear the voluntary, willing sacrifice of the Son to the Father:
For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh; how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrew 9:13-14 – emphasis mine).
We need to note again the Son’s willing compliance as a sacrifice offered unto God, the Father. Further, it is accomplished in the Spirit of the eternal. So that in this one act we have demonstrated all of the disputed expressions of a Triune Godhead; Father, Son and Holy Spirit! Little wonder then, the instinctive rejection of both Islamic and Jewish monotheists to a right apprehension of the Cross! Again, it is the Father who sent the Son to be the Savior of the world!
The question is then raised, how can Jesus be the High Priest while himself being the sacrifice? Even if his blood were considered as more acceptable than that of ‘goats and bulls,’ how being dead could He bring it to the Altar? The Book of Hebrews, as all Scripture, inspired of the Spirit, explains: “For Christ [Anglicised from the Greek translation of the Hebrew, Moshiach] has not entered a holy place which human hands have made (a mere type of the reality!); he has entered heaven itself now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf”(Hebrews 9:24).
So then, if these Scriptures be true (and what evident justification for their dismissal?), Jesus is both sacrifice and High Priest and could only have brought his own blood before the Father in heaven by virtue of His resurrection! But in being dead, that resurrection could itself only have been affected by the power of God, the glory of God the Father! The resurrection therefore in New Testament understanding, is the very attestation of the Father’s acceptance of the Son’s sacrifice, wherefore, as Paul tells us God also has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus [Again, Greco-English equivalent of the word Yeshua, God,(‘Ya’)is(shua) salvation] every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things of earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus [the] Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father”(Phillipians 2:6-11). This makes indubitably clear that the God of Israel, the Ancient of Days, is not just a witness of these things, or a compliant accessory, but the very Author who is indeed Himself glorified by the Son’s obedience in accordance with His explicit will, so fulfilling what was foretold by the prophets (especially in the controversial text of Isaiah 53)!
The great 19th century English preacher, Charles Spurgeon comments: “It is a sweet thought that Jesus Christ did not come forth without His Father’s permission, authority, consent and assistance. He was sent of the Father, that He might be the savior of men. We are too apt to forget that…Didst thou ever consider the depth of love in the heart of Jehovah when God the Father equipped His son for the great enterprise of mercy. If not, be this thy day’s meditation. The Father sent Him! Contemplate that subject…In the wounds of the dying Savior see the love of the great I AM…for ‘It pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief” (Isaiah 53:10).(From Morning and Evening, February 5; my emphasis). Now as then, then as now, “the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). When I see the Blood, I will pass over you (Exodus 12:13).