Listening to a lecture given by Tim Keller on suffering, and he states that “Christianity is the only religion with the audacity to claim that God suffered”. I thought that was both simple, and yet profound (yes I realize it is not original with him, never the less). Why would God suffer? Not just suffer in a general sense but in a very real very literal way, and for us.
“All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8 NKJV)”. How amazing. God did not just suffer, but Jesus was slain from the foundation of the world, not destined, not a future tense but past, was slain.
Can you imagine what that conversation was like? The Father and Son discussing creating man. And perhaps the Spirit chimes in and asks, yes but what about when they rebel? The Father none the less says, let us make man in our image, but Jesus you know what this means. And in that moment the Son not only sees the future, the beating, the suffering, the death. Not just a knowing or a feeling, but he in that moment experiences being slain. For God is outside of time in the way we know it. In that moment the spear pierces his side. The nails puncture his hands and feet. The thorns dig deep,into his brow, as the blood pours forth and he says. “Of course I will die for them.”
I can barely fathom it.
Can you? Can you imagine what that moment felt like? The sense, being slain before we were created? Can you imagine knowing that your kids would literally kill you before they were born, and yet deciding to give birth to them anyway. Maybe thinking oh well by the time it happens I will be old and besides they will have done a few nice things here and there. A couple of breakfasts of soggy cereal and cold pancakes in bed, a few hand drawn birthday cards. I know they will be the death of me, but it will be worth it. No I can’t imagine either let alone going thru with it. But imagine what this really means, before the hugs and kisses, before the “I love you” before a single moment of joy, you will suffer and be slain, and only then will you be allowed to enjoy those few of your children that don’t spit in your face and curse your name.
If that’s not love I don’t know what is.