What if for some reason the Roman soldier had thrust his spear into Jesus side, before Jesus had said from the cross, “It is finished”?
Wouldn’t the result have been that it wasn’t “finished”? And what is it that was to be “finished”, if not the “atonement”? The normal view of this might be that Jesus had to hang on the cross and suffer for a length of time that approximated the totality of man’s sins.
But if he was somehow a representative of our sin then it would be a shorter time, since he was atoning for one man not every man. Brings to mind that the High priest first made atonement for his own sins??
So what was it that would have been interrupted, had the soldier killed him instead of him “giving up” his Spirit? On the cross, Jesus was being subject to “the wrath of God”. Wrath amounts to confrontation between righteousness and unrighteousness. Jesus was suffering, but so was his Father. Is suffering mutual? We have here the representation of the Son playing the part of the guilty (on our behalf) and receiving “punishment” for it, being seen as “unrighteous”. But we have the Father also suffering, through love for his Son, the Father being seen as righteous.
So both suffered the same pain. In reality, Jesus was righteous, suffering the pain of confrontation with the corruption that was in man, in his body. And the common belief is that, in Jesus, God was in man. So there appears to be a common theme here, which is that everybody suffered because of the indwelling corruption of man which was through Adam. In the process of Jesus as God, dealing with unrighteousness, he is himself, in his body, subject to the forces of that righteousness and suffering for it in the conflict which ensues.
Man himself, suffers the “living wrath of God” while he is alive and in this corrupted body. He senses this through his conscience, unless his conscience is “seared”. Where there is righteousness and unrighteousness there is conflict. We see God entering Jesus into conflict with the enemy, death, yet it is only through Jesus’s inherent and also his ‘learned through obedience’ righteousness that death is overcome. Wrath then, is wherever there is conflict, and it is common to both the righteous and the unrighteous. Both experience the pain of it. Not to experience it would be a denial of its truth. God suffers loss in order to bring his creation to fruition.
Man who has this inner corruption is unable [apart from Christ] to stem the tide of his destiny. He is bound to experience the result of having fallen prey to his inner corruption both in its dynamic of suffering and in it causing his ultimate demise. The dynamic of the result of his corruption is to experience what we call hell, which is when he is confronted with the true spiritual reality of his ‘transgressions’ which ends in his own ashes. God’s judgement and mercy extend beyond the cross and he alone is the judge. In Christ he has justified men since they were a victim of the process of a creation which necessitated the freewill activity OF that creation, in order to reveal those who chose life over death, freedom from corruption instead of that corruption.
Then God suffers the same suffering as those in hell. It is the one creation, and components of it that suffer, also relay that suffering to the creator.
Jesus overcame the death inherent in his “adopted” body. adopted from the creative system that brought Adam’s transgressions to all men in the form of inner corruption of the body. Though they had “spirit”, the dominance of the autonomous body asserted itself and man had to adjust accordingly to the status quo of mediocrity through compromise with common corruptive elements. Jesus restored his own body by defeating the elements of death within that body, healing it, and in the process experiencing the hell that accompanied it.
We, recognising the truth of who he is and what he has done at such cost to himself, agree with him and “take up our cross”, not to do exactly what he did, but by standing in the truth of his victory, seek to overpower inner corruptive elements as they seek, by denial of his victory, to draw us into conflict on their terms, rather than on his. Our battle is to assert the victory over elements of death that now have no claim on us, they are dead and have lost all position of authority over our lives.