Thursday, March 25, 2010

What Kind of Father Would Kill His Son?

Dan at Necessary Roughness has a very interesting and worthwhile post entitled What Kind of Father Would Kill His Son?. However, the basic premise or question is faulty and dangerous as it stands and thus should be answered from the Scriptural perspective. Below is the post with my response following.

What Kind of Father Would Kill His Son?

This evening we read the Treasury of Daily Prayer as usual this evening right before bed time. The New Testament reading was Mark 14:12-31, the Passover, Institution of the Lord’s Supper, and Jesus foretelling Peter’s denial.

The older twin: Why did Jesus have to die on a cross?

I thought of “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree,” (Galatians 3:13) but I went elsewhere, “He fulfilled what the Father wanted him to do,” thinking about Gethsemane.

“So God the Father wanted to kill the Son.” Yes.

“What kind of Father would kill His Son?”

Good question. The kind of Father that wants more sons and daughters. Without Christ on a cross nobody would be adopted as a child of God. The death of Christ pays for our sins and for our sinfulness. Remember also that Jesus didn’t stay dead, so now God the Father not only has His Son back, he’s got sons and daughters all over. He gives us the faith that believes that Jesus died and rose again for our eternal salvation. He sustains that believing faith when we read the Bible, go to church, and receive the Lord’s Supper.

“That’s a good kind of Father.”

Dear Dan,

I’ve pondered this for a while so as to avoid rushing forward with a response. However, I believe a response is required.

God the Father did not kill His Son. Adam did. Adam killed the entire human race by following the devil into the temptation of believing in free will and choosing death for us all.

In John 3 Jesus explains that God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. God gave His Son. But Jesus, the Son of God and Son of Man was not killed by the Father.

Luke records the death of Jesus, saying: “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.”

John records the words of Jesus as He prepared to go to Gethsemane and the cross: “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” (John 10:15-18)

Isaiah prophesies, saying:

Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. (Isaiah 53:10)

or as the ESV translates: “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.”

By placing our guilt upon Jesus, the LORD crushed Him. Who IS the LORD?

In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus cried out to the Father with the answer that they had already established from eternity. As the Son of Man, with a fully human soul, weighted down with our iniquity, Jesus cried out begging for what He already knew could not be, thus asking not that the cup be removed, but that the Father would strengthen Him to go forward with the commission that He freely embraced from eternity.

The Father did not kill the Son. The Father gave the Son, who willingly laid down His life for us. Those who rejected the Son crucified Him and killed Him, but only by the will of the entire Godhead, and by the willing humbling unto death of the Son. The Son willingly offered Himself in our stead, in accord with the will of the Father and the Spirit.

This is the Father that you need to proclaim to your daughters. This Father does not kill His children. He leads us, as He did Jesus, to the mercy seat. He leads us to face death without fear, knowing that He will never abandon us. Sin is what separates us from God. Sin even darkened the world to such an extent that Jesus cried out as one abandoned in sin-blindness. But the Father was pleased with the sacrifice that His Son made for us, smiling as His Son went joyfully to the cross carrying our sin and guilt in His own body, sin that was not His own and had no power over Him. The Father did not kill the Son, but lovingly accepted His sacrifice on our behalf. Truly, through the entire ministry, including the six hours on the cross, the Father gleamed with pride and continued with His proclamation, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased.”

And now, because of Jesus, He can say the same of all who are baptized into the Holy Communion of the Holy Trinity.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Communication ≠ Contest

A lesson that seems to be very hard learned is that communication is not equal to contest.

This fact is especially hard for a person to acknowledge once the person has entered into an argument. An argument is a contest. Those in the argument are contesting one another, seeking to gain a superior position to the other, seeking to make one’s own point to prevail over the other’s.

This is actually the opposite of communication.

Communication is a giving and a receiving.

Argument is contestation. It is one sided from two opposing sides. It results in escalation. Argument continues until one side or the other or both begin to listen, to receive, and not just to attempt to give forcibly. Argument is violent.

Communication is peaceable. It begins with agreement on at least some point. It has agreement as its objective. It always includes listening with actual hearing.

An adage applied to communication is that a person is created with two ears and only one mouth for a reason.

Those who are wise remember this adage when attempting to communicate.

This is especially true in communication with God. We apply the term “worship” to this. Worship includes such things as prayer. Worship is communication where the two to one principle is absolutely necessary as we approach it. If we forget the two to one principle in this communication, it ceases to be true worship.

Jesus said:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24)

Spirit and Truth, both are from the Father. Neither are from the worshiper. Worship is not something that is produced by the worshiper. This includes true prayer. True prayer is listening and hearing God.

The liturgy of the divine service is designed with this as its structure. This is why so many today desire to discard the historic liturgy. The liturgy teaches us to hear God. But people are inclined to want to tell God, not to hear God. And so the liturgy does not appeal to most people.

Jesus teaches that true worship is in spirit and in truth. Where are the Spirit and the Truth encountered? In the preaching and in the Sacraments. The Truth is the Word. Jesus is the Truth. He is present and continually speaks to us throughout the divine service where the Word is preached purely and the Sacraments are administered accordingly. The Spirit also is present and at work wherever the Word is present.

So what appearance then does true worship have? God speaks and the worshipers hear what God says. Then the worshipers respond with what they have heard, hearing yet again God’s grace, mercy, and peace proclaimed. Thus the two to one principle is in full effect. The worshipers hear God speak and they hear God again as they speak and sing what God has given to them to speak and sing. This is what the Lord Jesus teaches in the Our Father. This is what the prophets and the apostles admonish.

When this is the pattern that rules the hearts of those who confess faith in Christ, then this becomes the pattern in their daily lives. Their communication reflects this. Thus, when Christians are walking in spirit, they do not argue. When arguments arise, the person walking in spirit realizes that this is not communication and not the way of the peace of God and the person becomes silent until the other person is willing to speak peaceably. If that does not occur, the Christian walks away from the one who rejects his peace, which is really the peace of God.

Arguing is not equal to communication. Arguing actually has the opposite result of true communication. Remembering this when an argument is in the formative stages is invaluable. Those who do remember this are called blessed. (Matthew 5)