Jesus suffered a violent painful death in his mid-thirties at the hands of the state. Crucifixion was a severe punishment instituted by the cruel Roman government. Yet the cross was ultimately not man’s idea; the cross was God’s free decision made of His own will. The cross is the eternal triune God’s answer that would fully and finally deal with the problem of man’s sin. Strange as it may seem to some, Isaiah 53:10 actually says that the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief (NASB). Because of God’s love for His people, the Father planned the cross from the beginning, and Christ, the Son, offered Himself to God willingly (Jn 10:18, Heb 9:14) so that His people might be saved. The Lord laid on Him, the iniquity of all of us sheep who have gone astray (Is 53:6). Christ, who knew no sin became sin, and a curse for us, paying the penalty and bearing the righteous indignation of God against sin, on our behalf (2 Cor 5:21, Gal 3:13). This doctrine is called the substitutionary atonement or penal substitution. Many throughout the ages have sought to deny and reject the doctrine of penal substitution as incongruous with a God of love; some have gone as far as to call it “divine child abuse;” but it is the cross that demonstrates the degree to which God’s love extends, as in united purpose, both the Father and the Son, act in concert to save God’s people.