Could Jesus have avoided the cross? Must the infinite love of God require the cross? These and many other questions rise to our minds when we recall the passion and death of Jesus Christ.
Jesus did not look for the cross; it was the wickedness of some people who looked to the cross to eliminate Him.
God the Father did not cook up the idea of the cross as an expression of His infinite love for us. He was and is not a sadist who planned the murder of His own only begotten and beloved Son. God was and is not vengeful to the extent that He wanted His Son, also infinite, to placate for the infinite sin we committed by sinning against the Infinite God.
When out of love God the Father sent His Son to be like us humans, He had to take the risk of letting His Son go and of being vulnerable to what would happen to Him at the hands of other humans. All parents do the same when they let their beloved children go abroad for studies. It is a risk that must be taken if they really love their children and want them to grow. God the Father, no less, did likewise.
When His Son, Jesus, taught the people how they should behave as children of God and showed them through miracles and his own lifestyle the power of His Father in Him, the leaders of the Jewish people, the Pharisees and Sadducees, felt threatened. Their own authority to teach and to lead the people was put to the question. You and I have experienced what happened when our authority was being threatened. Often, we got angry and we wanted to get rid of the person who challenged our authority. Haven’t we seen this clearly in our Malaysian politics? In fact, it happens all the time in all politics, be it in Malaysia or USA or India or China. It happens in our own very lives. It was this anger at being threatened that the leaders of the Jewish people decided to get rid of Jesus.
God could have intervened but He did not because He created human beings with a free will and a conscience and did not want to take them away. Otherwise, humans would be no longer humans but robots at the manipulation of their creator. So, God the Father allowed human history to take its course. Jesus, His Son, could have refused to take this path because He is also God; but He too, like His Father, wanted to respect the freedom and conscience of humans. His obedience to the Father is precisely in that they are ONE in mind and heart.
The infinite power of God, however, was manifested in what followed. He turned evil into good. He changed the murderer’s act of nailing His Son on the cross into an act of salvation for the world. Only love can do this: to allow an evil to be committed because of the respect for the persons who commit the crime and to change the evil act into a greater and tremendous act of love that saves.
God is infinite and all powerful or almighty. His love and His power, therefore, are also infinite. What cannot be done by humans or be thought of by human reason as impossible is possible with God; otherwise God would not be God but He would be human like us. The Bible clearly says that nothing is impossible with God. (Lk 1:37; 18:27; Mk 10:27; Mt 17:20; 19:26). In this event of the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, God manifested to us His infinite love and power that conquered all.
Hence, “as we focus our attention on the cross today, let us not make it a time of sadness or self-accusation. Instead, let us turn our time of silence before the cross into a time of awe, worship and unspeakable gratitude for all that God has done for us. It was out of love that He stooped down low and gathered up each one of us in His arms. No matter what our weakness, He has overcome it by nailing it to the cross.” (“The Word Among Us,”March, 2005, p.64)