The Lord Jesus Christ was smitten by both God and man on the cross of Calvary.
"Him... ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain" (Acts 2:23).
"We did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted" (Isaiah 53:4).
Our Lord's suffering at the hands of men is understandable in the sense that the sin of the human heart led to the murder of our Creator. His suffering at the hands of His Father, however, is beyond all comprehension. The "beloved Son" became for a time the object of the Father's rejection and wrath executed against sin, even to the degree that "He hath made Him to be sin for us" (II Corinthians 5:21). It was love that led to such mystery, love for us, and in fact, the same love that the perfect Lord Jesus had forever known with His Father.
"I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them" (Acts 17:26).
It is easily understandable that God the Father would so love God the Son. "He that sent Me is with Me: the Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him" declared the Savior (John 8:29). Incomprehensibly, however, the Father would ultimately leave His Son to die alone on the cross of Calvary, and judge Him in our stead. Having never sinned in His earthly lifetime, the Lord Jesus became in His death the very essence of sin in the sight of God. He was "made to be sin" despite the eternal reality of Christ declared by the writer of Hebrews: "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity" (Hebrews 1:9). What must such complete upheaval of being have done in the heart of our Savior? What must it have done in the heart of the Father who so loved Him, but who made Him to be sin, and then judged Him as if He were the object of His hatred? No answers are forthcoming for finite minds such as we possess, but we can seek to let our hearts be deeply moved and changed by acknowledging the wonder of the love of God for us that led to the horror that was the cross.
"Jesus... who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame" (Hebrews 12:2).
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit deemed our redemption and subsequent relationship as so precious that it was worth their own agony to make it possible. We are "the joy that was set before Him," even as the Psalmist proclaimed, "the Lord taketh pleasure in His people" (Psalm 149:4). Such sublime truth calls us to sink our hearts as deeply as possible into vital and sincere response to our God. We can never requite His devotion, but to love Him, trust Him, obey Him, and communicate Him to others must be the great and motivating factor of our existence. In the blinding light of Calvary, and of "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?," how could it be anything less? The Psalmist provides words for our only proper response and determination...
"I will love Thee, o Lord!"
"He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief."