Post Author: Bill Pratt
Often I hear non-Christians characterize the Christian God as a bloodthirsty tyrant who killed his own son (Jesus) on the cross. Jesus, they claim, was sacrificed against his will in order to fulfill the bizarre requirements of his sadistic father. “I cannot,” they say, “worship a God that would kill his own son!”
The first few times I heard this complaint against God, my first reaction was disbelief at how twisted an interpretation of Christianity this was. But then I thought, “How would I answer this charge against God?”
The answer is simple. Jesus was not forced to die by his father. He willingly laid down his life in the supreme act of sacrifice for mankind. How do I know this? Well, I read the Bible, unlike those that level this charge.
The Gospel of John provides the answer in John 10:11-18:
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me — just as the Father knows me and I know the Father — and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.
Sadistic God killing his son? Not even close. As the Good Shepherd, Jesus lays down his own life for his sheep. A greater sacrifice has never been known.