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The God-Pleasing Death of Jesus Christ

"Our God is in the heavens, he does all that he pleases" (Ps 115:3). This is such a crucial truth to acknowledge when it comes to the acts of God. Everything He does brings Him pleasure even if the means to that end are seemingly unpleasurable. His hand is never forced neither does He wince as He performs this or that action. He does all that He pleases. The flood, Egyptian slavery, the exile, all seemingly unpleasurable instances of the providence of God that bring Him pleasure.

Enter, then, the climax of God providential acts —the sending of Jesus Christ into the world. Jesus, the eternal Son of God, was sent "to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45). In other words, Jesus was sent into the world to die. The fact that Jesus was sent by the Father is repeatedly said throughout the Gospels as well as the rest of the New Testament. He was sent by the Father into the world to die. Peter testifies of this plainly in Acts 2:23, "this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men." Jesus was born and delivered up into the hands of Pontius Pilate according to the definite plan of God (cf. John 19:11).

But an interesting situation arises from this. God only does that which brings Him pleasure and one of those actions is the sending and delivering up of His one and only Son. In other words, "it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief" (Isa 53:10 KJV). In what sense did He "bruise him"? Certainly it is not a mere bodily injury but the outpouring of His wrath stored up for sinners. The righteous man suffered the wrath that was owed to the unrighteous multitude (1 Pet 3:18). Thus, God the Father was supremely happy to pour out His wrath on Jesus Christ and so send him into death itself. This perhaps sounds strange to us. The agonizing screams of the Son; the happiness of the Father. How could God delight in the death of His Son?

God is supremely happy in the death of Jesus Christ because He is happy that His justice is served (Ps 37:28), He is happy that sins are atoned for, He is happy that the righteousness of His Son is credited to undeserving sinners (Micah 7:18), He is happy because He is glorified and His grace is praised (Eph 1:5-6). It pleased the Lord that His righteous Son should die in the place of sinners. God desires for His glorious grace to be praised and this can only come through the substitutionary death of His one and only son slain for sinners. His glorious grace is not praised when men can earn their own salvation. His glorious grace is praised when hopeless men find all their hope in that Man who stood in their place and Whose righteousness they receive by faith. Then and only then is His glorious grace praised. And so, God delighted in the death of His Son.

In love for us, He delighted to pour out His wrath on Jesus Christ. Out of His own zeal, He was supremely happy to bruise Him (Isa 9:7).


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