Many a father has held an infant son in his arms, looked at that child and declared his delight. Yet, sadly, many years later the delight has turned to disgust, the joy to mourning. The son has done something, he has become something, that has driven away his father’s delight. I thought of my own delight in my children as I read God’s Word this morning.
There were two times that God the Father declared that he was well-pleased with the Son. At Jesus’ baptism a voice came from heaven to declare “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Later, as Jesus was transfigured before a few of his disciples, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and that voice spoken again saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
The Father was well-pleased with the Son. He delighted in him. The Father and Son found joy and contentment in another. The Holy God looked to his holy Son and said, “He is my delight.”
But this delight would not last. Not long after that second declaration, after the transfiguration, Jesus hung on a cross and as he hung there he cried out to the Father, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The Father who had once delighted in his Son had now abandoned him and cursed him. What had become of that delight? How could the Son of his delight now be cursed and forsaken? Had Jesus done something to destroy that delight? No. Well, kind of.
Jesus had not sinned against the Father. Rather, he had chosen to take upon himself the sin and curse of the people he loved. He chose to suffer for us. And as he did that, he bore all the sin and shame and curse and was detestable to God. How could God delight in one who held all of my sin, all of your sin, all the sin of everyone who would ever believe in him? Every ugly thought and every evil deed, every lying word and lustful thought and idolatrous desire–it was all laid upon the Son.
In that period of time, those few hours, God turned his back on his Son. Delight was replaced with damnation. God poured out all of his wrath against the Son until that wrath was completely emptied, until all the suffering for that sin was complete. Jesus suffered for that sin and he died for that sin. And in making the full and final satisfaction, he once again became the delight of his Father.
And Jesus did this all so we, too, could be the delight of the Father. He did it so we could become the delight of the Father, trading the ugliness of our sin for the beauty of Jesus’ righteousness.