Since moving to the northwest, I have been asked the following question in various ways on many occasions: "Why was God the Father so cruel to subject his Son, Jesus, to the brutality of the cross?"
Let me start by saying that I think it is really good the cross makes us squirm. The cross was costly in terms of both the physical suffering he endured and the weight of humanity's sin. It is not pretty.
But I think we may misunderstand something of the nature of the Godhead (the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) when we see them somehow operating independently of one another in a competing narrative. It is hard for us to handle the idea that a loving Father would inflict such cruelty upon his beloved Son (or allow others to do it).
But let's take a step back. The crucifixion wasn't an act that caught Jesus off guard. The cross didn't happen because someone (or Someone) else chose it for Jesus. No. The cross happened because Jesus chose it for Himself.
In John 17 (and other places), we read about the unity of the Trinity and how Jesus and the Father are One. When looking at the cross, we have to consider the unity of God. This isn't about what God the Father did to Jesus; the cross was the will of Jesus, too. I wonder if this changes our narrative of a cruel father when we realize Jesus chose this for himself?
Read Mark 10:45
Jesus also said, "There is no greater love than laying down your own life for your friends." This was clearly in the heart of Christ!
Jesus gave us what we cannot give ourselves: the clear pathway to salvation through God's own self-giving love at his own expense.
He laid down his own life.
No greater love...