Traditional, legal views of the Cross suggest God was more concerned with our guilt than restoring a personal relationship. Is the Cross really about God’s wrath than God’s love? God didn’t need to be appeased by human sacrifice as the other OT gods. The Bible implies the Cross wasn’t to satisfy God at the expense of His Son but to satisfy a need in us at God’s expense.
The Cross visibly demonstrates the destructiveness of sin and is never without a cost. The Cross empowers us to know we can have a relationship with our Creator. We don’t have to run and hide like Eve and Adam. God sought credibility to influence us for our own good. God wished to persuade us to follow in Jesus’ footsteps to trust in God than our own wisdom. God loves us more than we can ever imagine and hopefully the Cross moves us to love others as God loves us. Rarely will anyone die for a good person, but Jesus died to convince every human being.
Human or animal sacrifice was never necessary to ultimately please God: “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it…a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise” (Ps 51: 16-17, i.e. Heb 10:6). Our sin causes us and other tremendous pain, but sacrifice doesn’t bring back childhood innocence robbed by an adult abuser. Sacrifice is simply a way to convey the tremendous cost of sin in our lives. God only desires repentance so there can be less destruction for the future.
God cannot create and guarantee life without death, violence, suffering, and struggle and yet there be free will necessary for genuine relationships and intimacy to exist. Suffering, deserved or undeserved, is only avoidable if God makes a total mockery out of freedom or didn’t create at all. Our demands for an all-powerful, invulnerable God comes at the expense of trusting God knows best how to run a universe and change as many lives as possible by one’s own volition.
Job wanted to know why God didn’t interfere with his undeserved suffering as God knew Job was a righteous man: “Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment? Why must those who know him look in vain for such days” (24:1)? God defended that He can still be just and caring despite allowing suffering. God hurts as much as human parents when their children suffer. What possible good can come from our undeserved suffering? Suffering enables us to not fall in love with what the world offers. Suffering enables us to reach others. Are we influenced more by how people handle miracles or trust God in difficult circumstances?
Why did Jesus die on the Cross? God is always willing to walk in our shoes. God didn’t answer Jesus’ request either to intervene with His undeserved suffering. God desires to turn as many people from evil as possible while preserving freedom. Miracles turn heads but Jesus’ suffering turned the hearts of billions of followers. God took no shortcuts. God didn’t wave a wand over this messed up world for our sake or His own. Jesus’ suffering and death hopefully convinces us to follow His wisdom for our own good. Jesus had to die from God’s perspective to not avoid suffering Himself and convince us of God’s unconditional love for us.