“And on the cross, when Jesus died
The love of God was magnified.”
When I look at the cross, I don’t see God’s wrath as its typically defined.
I see Jesus’s patience towards Peter when he asked him to feed his sheep.
I see Jesus’s care for his mother when he commited her to John’s care.
I see Jesus’s non-violent attitude towards his enemies when he refused to call legions of angels.
I see Jesus’s grace towards the thief when he promised him paradise.
I see Jesus’s reckless and restless love in resolving to do God’s will when he was in the garden.
I see Jesus’s compassion towards the crowds when he forgave them for murdering him.
I see Jesus’s forgiveness as he shows us what a perfect self-sacrifice looks like.
And I see Jesus’s love towards us all in that he died for us.
As the centurion said, surely this is the Son of God!
And if we believe, as the hymn in Colossians 1 and the introduction to Hebrews says, that Jesus is an exact representation of who God is, then all of these qualities are the absolute best picture of God that we see in Scripture.
Now, I do think that God’s wrath is revealed in the cross, but it reveals itself in overthrowing the principalities and powers of the systems of religion and empire that put him there. It is revealed in condemning the jealousy and the pride of the ones who convinced the people to murder the Son of God. It is revealed in overthrowing the kingdom of darkness.
And where it is most revealed is in a big heaping pile of hot coals.
Instead, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink, for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:20-21.
In this most vile act of human wickedness is when God’s grace and mercy are most apparent. If that doesn’t bring someone to their knees, I don’t know what will. To come face to face with the exact picture of God and spit upon it is to bring such misery upon yourself that it is amazing that one can come back from it, but even that level of redemption is possible because of what Jesus did, as Jesus said himself from the cross.
I don’t know if I can say that God’s wrath was “satisfied” on the cross like the song says. I can’t find any scripture for that, but I can read in Romans 5 where Paul said that the cross is where the love of God was commanded or proven. That sounds like good news to me.