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Why Must the Son Suffer?

by | Jan 5, 2024 | God's Love, Salvation

There are a few stories in the Bible that really stump me.

Take Noah, for example. He became angry with his son, Ham, because Ham saw him drunk and naked and didn’t do anything about it (See Genesis 9:20-25). Instead of punishing Ham, however, Noah curses Ham’s son, Canaan! Canaan hadn’t done anything wrong! According to the Biblical record, he wasn’t anywhere near the tent where his grandfather lay uncovered!

Then there is Abraham. Abraham has waited 25 years for the fulfillment of God’s promised son, Isaac. Yet God asks him to sacrifice that same son that he waited so long to receive (See Genesis 22)!

Another example is David. David sinned by sleeping with another man’s wife and then orchestrating the death of that same man; yet it was the child of that unholy union who was punished (See 2 Samuel 12)!

And of course there is the 3rd commandment: “You shall not worship them nor serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, inflicting the punishment of the fathers on the children, even on the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me…” (Deut. 5:9 NASB).

Why would the next four generations have to suffer for the sins of the father?

I think that any loving parent, even today, would feel far worse seeing their child suffer for their wrong than if they had to suffer directly. When Noah cursed Canaan, he was inflicting a much more severe punishment on Ham than if he had cursed Ham directly. When David’s son died, the pain of losing his son was far more severe than being punished himself. Abraham is the same. If he had been asked to sacrifice himself, it wouldn’t have shown the same level of faith as it showed for Abraham to sacrifice His promised son. And this is why the 3rd commandment was so effective. The pain of knowing your children until the 4th generation would suffer would be far worse than taking the punishment yourself.

The reason a loving parent hurts when their child suffers is because that child is not only physically descended from him or her, but emotionally that child is a part of them as well; and when our kids suffer, we suffer. I don’t know how many times I’ve wished I could take the pain away from one of my kids by taking it on myself.

This is exactly the mentality of God Himself. He loved us so much that He wanted to save us from eternal death. There was no way to do this without a blood sacrifice, and so God sent – His Son!

We know that Jesus was fully God. Jesus referred to Himself as the “I am”, the term for God established at the burning bush: “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.’” (John 8:58 NASB). Thomas proclaimed that Jesus was God: “Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (John 20:28 NASB). John declared that Jesus made everything: “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being.” (John 1:3 NASB) Finally, Jesus is quoted as saying, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30 NASB).

Now I don’t pretend to understand how this can be, but the point is this: God wasn’t distancing Himself from suffering and pain in sending His Son; rather, He was sending part of Himself! That’s how much He loves us!

As we reflect on the Easter season that is just behind us, I urge you to take the time every day to meditate on how God sent a part of Himself to save you. That’s how much He loves you! Meditating on this truth will help you, “…to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge…” (Ephesians 3:18 NASB), so that in this upcoming year, “…you may be filled to all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 3:19 NASB)!

In His love,

Lynona Gordon Chaffart
Author, Moderator, Acting Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries