Jehovah has shown love in many ways, but there is one that stands out above all others. What is it? It is his sending his Son to suffer and die for us. We can safely say that this is the greatest act of love in all history. Why can we say that?
The Bible calls Jesus “the firstborn of all creation.” (Colossians 1:15) Just think—Jehovah’s Son was in existence before the physical universe. How long, then, were Father and Son together? Some scientists estimate that the universe is 13 billion years old. Yet, even if this estimate is correct, it would not be long enough to represent the life span of Jehovah’s firstborn Son! How was he occupied during all those ages? The Son joyfully served as his Father’s “master worker.” (Proverbs 8:30; John 1:3) Jehovah and his Son worked together to bring all other things into being. What thrilling, happy times they had! Who of us, then, can begin to fathom the power of a bond that has existed over such an immense span of time? Clearly, Jehovah God and his Son are united by the strongest bond of love ever forged.
Nevertheless, Jehovah dispatched his Son to the earth to be born as a human baby. Doing so meant that for some decades, Jehovah had to forgo intimate association with his beloved Son in heaven. With intense interest, He watched from heaven as Jesus grew up to be a perfect man. At about 30 years of age, Jesus got baptized. On that occasion the Father spoke personally from heaven: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.” (Matthew 3:17) Seeing that Jesus faithfully did all that had been prophesied, all that was asked of him, his Father must have been so pleased!—John 5:36; 17:4.
How, though, did Jehovah feel on Nisan 14, 33 C.E., as Jesus was betrayed and then arrested by an angry mob? As Jesus was ridiculed, spat upon, and struck with fists? As he was scourged, his back torn to ribbons? As he was nailed, hands and feet, to a wooden pole and left to hang there while people reviled him? How did the Father feel as his beloved Son cried out to him in the throes of agony? How did Jehovah feel as Jesus breathed his last and, for the first time since the dawn of all creation, His dear Son was not in existence?—Matthew 26:14-16, 46, 47, 56, 59, 67; 27:26, 38-44, 46; John 19:1.
Since Jehovah has feelings, the pain he must have suffered over the death of his Son is beyond the power of our words to express. What can be expressed is Jehovah’s motive for having allowed it to happen. Why did the Father subject himself to such pain? Jehovah reveals something wonderful to us at John 3:16—a Bible verse so important that it has been called the Gospel in miniature. It says: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” So God’s motive amounted to this: love. No greater love has ever been shown.