My late father was a great preacher, with a unique ability to bring the scriptures to life through imaginative storytelling. I remember him describing the creation of Adam until the ultimate act of giving him breath. Dad imagined Yahweh pausing in His work, with a consciousness of future failure and the dreadful cost of sin. Did He look at Yahshua with a final question in His eyes, wondered Dad [see Genesis 1:26]? They both had foreknowledge; they both knew what this finishing act would eventually cost. Was there a quiet moment of total understanding and agreement? And then Yahweh “…breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” [Genesis 2:7].
I grew up with the confidence that Calvary was planned before Adam took his first breath; that Yahweh understood our weaknesses from the beginning; that He and His Son were willing to pay an incredible price for the joy of having a people of free will who choose to worship and serve them. It’s an awesome concept! The Old Testament is full of references to Yahshua; He walks through pages littered with references to Him as a suffering Servant and a promised Messiah! Once, when Israel was feeling forsaken and forgotten, Yahweh comforted them by saying, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” [Isaiah 49:16]. Was this a prophetic reference to hands that would be nail-scarred because of love? An insight into the quality of loving that would willingly bear such pain? It makes me stop and wonder just how deeply Yahweh and Yahshua are bonded together.
When sin entered the beautiful world Yahweh had created, His loving heart beat unambiguously with justice and mercy; both must be satisfied. How could He offer mercy without condoning sin? The answer is through Calvary; there He justly dealt with sin in His Son, so He is able to offer mercy to the repentant sinner. “The cross is not a compromise” writes James Denney, “but a substitution; not a cancellation but a satisfaction; not a wiping off but a wiping out in blood and agony and death. Thus mercy does not cheat justice.”