“He suffered”

This word carries not only the everyday meaning of bearing pain, but also the older and wider sense of being the object affected by someone else’s action. The Latin is passus, whence the noun “passion.” Both God and men were agents of Jesus’ passion: “this Jesus, delivered up according to the plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:23, from Peter’s first sermon). God’s purpose at the cross was as real as was the guilt of the crucifiers.

What was God’s purpose? Judgment on sin, for the sake of mercy to sinners. The miscarrying of human justice was the doing of divine justice. Jesus knew on the cross all the pain, physical and mental, that man could inflict and also the divine wrath and rejection that my sins deserve; for he was there in my place, making atonement for me. “AII we like sheep have gone astray … and the lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

—J. I. Packer
Growing in Christ, 52.


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