For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV
When we think of Jesus' death, our thoughts often turn to his sacrifice to atone for our sins. The unblemished sacrificial lamb paid for the price for our freedom from the bondage of sin. We rarely, if ever, think of this cost in terms of what it meant to the Father.
In Genesis 22:2, we recall the story of another father and son sacrificial story, "Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you." In Abraham's case, it was to test his obedience. Then, at the last minute, God delivered a suitable substitute. Not so with Jesus, the Father sacrificed his only Son to offer salvation to any sinner who believes in him.
Some small part of us might think that cruel. Why would a father ever be willing to sacrifice his son? We prefer the Abraham story where the son lives. But had that happened, we would never have received this offer of eternal life. The same eternal life Jesus experienced when he returned to the Father.
Why would God do such a thing? The answer is simple; He loves us! He loves us so much; he was even willing to give what he deeply cherished so we can have the promise of life with Him. All that is required is our belief.
Holy Father, we give you thanks for the sacrifice of your one and only Son and the hope of eternal life. We acknowledge we have done nothing to deserve this great promise, but it is a gift of your love. Lord, your children believe and are grateful for this promise. Please help us as we share this promise with others. In your Son, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.