I find it hard to relate to Jesus on the cross. I mean, it’s almost too great to grasp: The suffering of it all, being nailed to a cross, left to die in agony, taking on the sins of the whole world, yet being totally without sin. I have a hard time to relate to it on a more personal level. Somehow I feel it is easier for me to understand Mary’s pain in this. I can relate to her sufferings, because I can put myself in her shoes, kneeling by the cross, crying for her son. But I can’t grasp the suffering of Christ himself.

Another part of the bible that is difficult to comprehend is when poor Abraham are asked to sacrifice his only son. Everybody with children can relate to this tremendous proffer. I doubt I would be able to do what Abraham was prepared to do. I have asked myself how God could ask this of him, and why. I can’t understand how a loving God can ask this of a parent.

In the passion I can understand why, but I can’t really relate to the emotional side. In Abraham’s sacrifice I can relate to the emotional perspective, but I can’t understand why. And yet, Abraham’s sacrifice and the Passion of Christ is very similar parts of the bible: The father sacrifices his only son.

When I think of God’s great sacrifice for us in these terms, I can suddenly grasp what God have done and how he could ask this of Abraham. But God, in his great compassion gave Abraham a way out: He let Abraham keep his son and further let him have many more. God could ask this of Abraham because He could do the same for Abraham. He asked for Abraham’s sacrifice but did not fulfill his request. In the end Abraham did not sacrifice his son, but God did sacrifice his. The question should not be how he could ask this of Abraham, but how he could ask this of himself. And then the answer is more evident: For the love of us.

It is in this context, someone simpleminded as me, actually can grasp the passion of Christ and the endless love God has for us. God actually sacrificed his only son for us, for his people, for my family, for me…

The universal bias of God for each and one of us is important here. “Dieu nous aime d’un amour universellement partial” – God loves us with a love which is universally partial, as Gabriel Marcel puts it. The personal bond which He has, with each and one of us. The greatest sacrifice is universally done for us as individuals. The son of God died upon the cross for my sins, for your sins, for the sins of Abraham and his son. For all our personal sins, individually.

There you have it. How could one be indifferent for this great sacrifice? Someone has given us his only son to help us gain our lives.

– How, on earth, could we not take him up on his offer?