At the centre of understanding God we find the cross. The Godhead is a cruciform family, meaning that their essence is best understood here.
If we look at the crucifixion primarily for the horror and unintelligible suffering that it is, we will miss the fullness of what is really happening. Yes, there is a picture of judgment and consequence for a world gone wrong. It is the sinful failure of humanity that allows for such a desecration to occur. The crucifixion looks bad on us. No-one that innocent should unjustly punished like Jesus was.
If we view Calvary devoid of the Father and the Spirit, we must conclude that the family was not in this together. This was solely on Jesus and somehow the Father turns away without response.
A dysfunctional family may splinter, and each part suffers alone, but that is not evident in the Cross.
Certainly Jesus is most apparent in the suffering and humiliation; but is the Father and Spirit suffering less or not also being humiliated?
Scriptures tell us that a great darkness fell along with an earthquake. The Temple veil split in half. Were these naturally occurring events? What are the odds of an eclipse and an earthquake happening at the same time?
Certainly the ancients understood these to be signs of God’s response to human activity. It is here that we see the Father expressing displeasure at the vileness; and it is an expression of the Father’s grief.
As Jesus suffers, the Spirit is at work in those witnessing the horror. The centurion receives a Spirit-birthed understanding—Truly this is the Son of God.
One of the thieves on the adjoining crosses is drawn to Jesus by the Spirit—when you enter your Kingdom, remember me.
The essential kindness and mission of the Spirit is hard at work in the midst of the suffering.
Throughout the sayings on the Cross, we hear Jesus having a conversation with the Father. This is a loving dialogue on a deathbed. This is a family at the darkest hour.
The Spirit reminds Jesus of a most relevant Psalm. When we hear Jesus utter the first verse on the Cross, we miss the complete message that he was hearkening to.
But the rest of the Psalm is the intimate call of suffering to a trusted Father.