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The Priesthood of the Father Giving up the Son

Father giving up the Son

In his outstanding book Christ CrucifiedUnderstanding the AtonementDonald Macleod gives an intriguing insight about the priestly role God the Father played in giving His Son up as an atoning sacrifice. He writes,

[Luke 22:19 and Romans 8:32] point to a priesthood of God the Father, ‘giving’ or ‘giving up’ His only Son. . .What can we say as to the precise nature of the Father’s action at Calvary? The New Testament answer is breathtaking. He acted in the role of priest. Just as Jesus ‘gave’ His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45) so God the Father ‘gave’ His one and only Son; just as Christ ‘delivered up’ Himself as a fragrant offering (Eph. 5:2) so God the Father ‘delivered up’ His own Son (Rom. 8:32). Clearly, then, corresponding to the priesthood of the self-giving Son there is a priesthood of God the Father. From this point of view, Golgotha becomes His temple, where. . .He is engaged in the most solemn business that earth can witness. He is offering a sacrifice. The cross is His altar, and His own Son the sacrifice.

When we think of the priestly ministry of Christ—from His incarnation to His substitutionary atoning death on the cross—we should do so with an eye to what the Scriptures teach about the priestly act of the Father giving up the Son for the salvation of His people. The Son is the priest who offers Himself without spot to God, and the Father is the priest in giving His eternally beloved Son as a sacrifice for the sin of His people. Jesus has been ‘given for us’ by the Father (Isaiah 9:6) so that we might be reconciled to God.

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