Thus far we have considered four viewpoints of the cross:
1. JUDAS ISCARIOT: The Perspective of Silver
2. PONTIUS PILATE: The Perspective of Self-Preservation
3. ROMAN SOLDIERS: The Perspective of Sport
4. THE APOSTLES: The Perspective of Silence
Let's now contemplate the final three:
5. GOD THE FATHER: The Perspective of Substitution
How did Almighty God view the cross? It's hard for us to fully understand His perspective, but we can try to comprehend what has been revealed. Hebrews 2:9 states - "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone." Romans 5:8 says - "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Also, let's read a lengthy section about the Messiah from Isaiah 53:4-12:
"Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked--but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You 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. He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
All three of these passages speak clearly of Jesus as a substitute. The perspective of substitution is certainly one way in which the Father viewed the cross. Praise Him that He was willing to send Jesus! Praise Jesus that He was willing to humble Himself and come.
We as humans can relate in some ways to this perspective. Jesus once said:"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" (John 15:13). The way in which we live as Christians should be sacrificially. We should be willing to give for each other whatever is needed if we really love (i.e., our time, energy, and resources). That's what true love does, and God has shown us how! What about you, friends?
6. JESUS THE SON: The Perspective of Submission
What was Jesus' view of the cross? Matthew 26:39 reveals - "He went a little further and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, 'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me, nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.'" Hebrews 5:7-9 speaks of this agonizing time for Jesus - "Who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him." John 8:29 is also helpful here, where Jesus said - "And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him."
Jesus had the perspective of submission. There is a lot we could develop on this point alone. Jesus looked at the cross as the ultimate act of submission to His Heavenly Father. He did not want to go to Calvary; He did not want to suffer the agony. But He did! He submitted because of His great love. Today, we must submit to one another for the glory of God's church (cf. Eph. 5:21); we must not selfishly seek our own way. We must seek God's way and submit to it. What about you, friends?
7. CHRISTIANS: The Perspective of Salvation
I Peter 1:18-21 speaks about the viewpoint of Christians:
"Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God."
Also consider Ephesians 1:7,8 - "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence."
The perspective of salvation is a viewpoint of the cross that we must maintain as Christians. Our salvation is by grace through faith and it is a wonderful blessing indeed. We cannot earn our deliverance, but if we've been saved, we need to live like it! Our attitude, speech, and actions must show it. Although no one living on Earth today witnessed the scene at Calvary, all today should embrace this perspective. What about you, friends? What is your perspective of the cross?