Craig Sowder's blog raised an interesting question- does the supposed crucifixion of Jesus make the Friday before Easter "good" for Christians, or for Jesus as well?
Craig gives a couple proof-texts to support his claim that the crucifixion was actually a good thing from Jesus' perspective, and I'm going to assume that they do so, for argument's sake- because I find the implication of that idea very strange.
Jesus, as the Nicene Creed describes him, is "the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made." In other words, there is no coherent disctinction between the qualities ascribed to God the Father and God the Son- allowing us the convenience of ascribing all of God's characteristics to Jesus. Therefore, Jesus, among other things, can be described as omniscient. But this provides a problem when facing the claim posed by Hebrews 12, that Jesus endured crucifixion "for the joy that was set before him." Now, what does it mean for an omniscient deity to experience joy? The emotion of joy confers the idea of receiving pleasure of something hoped-for. But pleasure confers the idea of transitioning from a state of lesser to greater perfection, and hope confers the idea of doubt for the outcome of future events. Given the context of the passage in Hebrews (the metaphor of a race), the idea of joy at winning or completing the race seems completely reasonable from the human perspective, but it is completely unintelligible from the omniscient perspective, from which Jesus, being divine, must necessarily stand. To put it simply, a perfect and omniscient being cannot experience joy, for he cannot experience pleasure nor can he doubt the future.
But there's another concept that's raised by the Good Friday discussion- that of Jesus' suffering. Certainly, the backwash of cultural detritus left over from the "Passion of the Christ" has kept that same issue in the forefront, though not as much as one year prior. Still, the promotion of the idea of Jesus' suffering during his supposed crucifixion leads me to wonder: how much of a sacrifice was it, really? Keep in mind- Jesus, despite being incarnate, did not give up his divine nature- he was still of the same essence as God. That being the case, what small effort is it for a divine being to hang suspended on a piece of wood for a few hours? Even "death", and the supposed separation from the Father (I'll leave the logical implications of that to others) were completed in no more than three days. For an infinite divine being, what small sacrifice is three days? I'd say it's no great accomplishment, especially since Christianity purports to send unbelievers to that same location for an eternity. In the end, who is really the bravest- Jesus, or the infidel?
It seems that, despite arguments to the contrary, Jesus' supposed sacrifice was neither joyful, nor of any significance. So why then did he go to the trouble?