By C. Baxter Kruger
There is something more stunning than the fact that the Father’s Son himself came to be among us — and that is that we rejected him. The Gospel narratives do not portray a larger crowd helplessly watching in horror as a handful of wicked men play their power politics and snuff out their greatest threat. The leadership wanted Jesus dead, gone, eliminated — and so did the crowds.
But the shouts, "Crucify, crucify him!" say so much more than simply "we want this man out of the picture." There is deep bitterness here. There is hostility and scorn, wrath, enmity. Give him vinegar. Damn him. "We have no king but Caesar."
It is astonishing indeed that the Father’s Son became what we are, and it is even more stunning that we rejected and abused and crucified him, but is it not more stunning still, that Jesus willingly accepted and endured it all, when one word would have unleashed legions of angels to his defense?
Either the Father, Son and Spirit were caught off guard by our hatred of Jesus, or there is a redemptive genius at work here that is too beautiful for words. Was the rejection of the Jews and the Romans not foreseen by the Triune God? Was the Father surprised when we killed the solution? Or could it be that the vile rejection of the Father’s Son by the human race was clearly anticipated and incorporated as a critical part in bringing about our reconciliation? Could it be that the Triune God’s way of reconciliation involves his acceptance of our hatred? Could the key to reconciliation be the Trinity’s willful submission to our bizarre darkness and its bitter judgment?
What sin could be more heinous than hating — and then murdering — God, and what reconciliation could be more beautiful and personal and real than the Lord willingly submitting himself to suffer our wrath, thereby meeting us in our foul darkness? The Father, Son and Spirit are eternally serious about loving us and about bringing us to taste and feel and know their love (adoption), but how do you reach people so lost in their confusion that they hide in fear from you?
We can become so accustomed to hearing about Jesus suffering the wrath of God that we cannot see the more obvious New Testament point that he suffered from our wrath. And in suffering our wrath, in bearing our scorn, he was actually reaching us in our terrible darkness, thereby bringing his relationship with his Father and his own anointing in the Holy Spirit into our world of flesh.
Christmas is not merely a sweet story about the baby Jesus; it is a story about the staggering love of the Triune God — a love determined to meet the real and broken us, a love that stoops and suffers to meet us, indeed, a love that becomes the scapegoat of our hostility in order to reach us in our pain. Jesus, the Father’s Son, the One anointed in the Holy Spirit, bore our scorn, suffered our hostility and rejection in order to bring his life with his Father and Spirit to the real us, forever. And he has done it.
Dr. C. Baxter Kruger is the Director of Perichoresis Ministries and the President of Mediator Lures, which manufactures specialty fishing lures. For more information visit www.perichoresis.org.