What Jesus looked at as he hung on the Cross
This could be stated as a question instead of an adjective type of remark. Most people reading this might say in his physical condition, after the number of hours he hung there, he may not be in any condition to make an observation like that.
However, we are searching for the deeper significance of his presence on the cross and the reason he chose to suffer and meet death head on.
There has always been a question as to why God continues to allow so much suffering without any intervention, especially when evil confronts the innocent. I hear some people saying that soon Christ will come and eliminate those who have become vicious adversaries and free us from all the tyranny that has put the rest of us down. Isn’t it interesting that is exactly what the Jews thought the Messiah would be like. The vision of a redeemer who would appear on a white stallion with sword and shield to wipe out the enemies of God. What a surprise when the Messiah appeared presenting the truth of God; love for all his creatures. He would come with mercy as his helmet and forgiveness in his hands. Much of his ministry consisted of parables that showed forgiveness of his Father without any recompense required to punish sinners.
Why would God not be quick to send those to hell who turned against his chosen ones and God’s generosity as well? We need to go back to Genesis and discern the meaning of crawling on the ground the rest of his life. “Cursed be the ground because of you! In toil shall you eat its yield all the days of your life. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you, as you eat of the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face shall get bread to eat, until you return to the ground from which you were taken. For you are dirt, and to dirt you shall return.” (Gn 3: 17 - 19).
For disobeying God’s command man was denied paradise until the Messiah would come into the world. But extreme punishment for such a terrible confronting to God, it would not occur.
From 2 Sm we find David, the chosen king from whom his loins would bring the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords to us for salvation. Yet, David committed adultery and murder to cover his sin. For this God brought about sadness and punishment to his offspring, but to his house or domain God said; “Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever.” (2 Sm 7: 16). Although this was spoken to David through the prophet Nathan before his sin, God nevertheless stood by his promise.
Paul, the greatest evangelist of the New Testament, was on his way to Damascus with writs of arrest for Christians, most of whom would be imprisoned or killed was confronted by Christ. He became a true follower and was not condemned for his previous sin against Christians.
The backdrop of these incidents shows that God is not ready to grab sinners by the nape of their neck and severely punish them.
Jesus said that he came so that the sheep of his flock might have life and have it more abundantly. In spite of any of their sins, Jesus still went to the cross for them and us. (Jn 10: 10)
All people are God’s creatures, made in his image and likeness. What does that term mean? Not physical or any human characteristics, but the essence of love, forgiveness, and seeking the kingdom of God for others at our own expense. The Jews couldn’t grasp that notion from Jesus, and unfortunately many in our day cannot accept it either.
There are a number of people wondering why these adversaries are not headed to hell. Because, God sends no one to hell. Those that end there go due to their own choice. Remember that God gave us a free will and God will not interfere with that. The one thing God cannot do is contradict himself. If he was to interfere with free will it would be a contradiction. So when we pray for the conversion of sinners, especially the most heinous among us, God may send some manner of a conversion that they may be convinced to return, but he will not force any one to accept his love and forgiveness.
Here, into the future of our very existence and the sins Jesus was dying for, is exactly what he was looking at and reaching out for our accepting hand to be with him after our own death into eternal life.