In light of the fact that Jesus was in effect, God, and therefore knew he was both immortal and utterly in control of his fate, or at the very least knew of God’s existence beyond any doubt and his place therein, why is his death considered such a magnificent sacrifice in comparison to we ordinary folks who have neither example of foreknowledge?

~ DarkSyde

This is the question I’d like to interact with.

Basically, it seems to me, this is a question dealing specifically with the necessity and centrality of the Atonement, and several other doctrines as well. This doctrine – and doctrine it is – is the central, keynote theme of the entire Bible. It is central to the entire message it gives, and part and parcel of just about every story in it.

The Atonement is key. Second, however, is the doctrine of Propitiation. Third, the Hypostatic Union, then the Holiness of God, and the Divinity of Christ.

All of these subjects (and most likely more) are touched on by this question! It’s an interesting one, and needs a (Biblical and doctrinal) response.

The importance of the Atonement:

That’s because Jesus made much of it, I think. He said it Himself: “…but for this purpose I have come to this hour.” This was not Christ’s only purpose – but it was chief. In Matthew 5:17, He says “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” The Atonement is the purpose the whole Bible is pointed toward. The means, however, is called Propitiation.

The importance of Propitiation:

Correct, Jesus is God, the ruler of the Universe. You are correct, though – it isn’t the same type of sacrifice. It is a propitiatory sacrifice. From theopedia: “Propitiation is not the placating of a vengeful God but, rather, it is the satisfying the righteousness of a holy God, thereby making it possible for Him to show mercy without compromising His righteousness or justice.

This concept is what makes the forgiveness (mercy) of God compatible with the moral perfection (holiness) of God, when God offers us salvation.

It is not the “same sense” of sacrifice. It is a sacrifice only God could make. Humanity is awash in their own wrongdoing – their own sin. There is not one perfectly righteous man who could stand in our stead as a sacrifice. Furthermore, a mere man could not withstand the full wrath of God out upon them. God, however, could. This is the reason for Christ – fully God, fully man – and clothed in flesh specifically to “to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

This is correct – Christ’s sacrificial death is, indeed, not a sacrifice how we typically view human sacrifices on behalf of others. It is a sacrifice that only God could make, in the person of Jesus, the Christ – and it is a sacrifice required by God, of God, that He may save us from ourselves.

The Law’s position (and thus, God’s position) is that the penalty for sin is death – blood.

The death and suffering of Christ is a substitionary payment for the sins of all. The price for that sin is the death of Jesus – the perfect, sinless man. He was separated from God, was inundated by the Wrath of God, took upon himself all of the sins of the world – past, present, and future – and by that payment, has satisfied the wrath of God for mankind and enabled God to forgive men who accept that payment for their sin, repent of their sin, and acknowledge Christ as Lord and God.

The comparison is not between foreknowledge and lack of foreknowledge. It’s a red herring to the central focus on sin. The difference lies in who Jesus is. First, Jesus is a hypostatic union of God and man. This means that Jesus was both man AND God – and that He was both God and man fully – two natures in one person. God cannot sin, thus the human nature of Jesus was sinless as well. He was the perfect man, and God to boot – thus, His sacrificial death was sufficient to pay the penalty of sin – even though He had committed none Himself. This is the reason why Christ’s death is important. The perfect man – the man who was also God – died in our place, took the wrath of God upon Himself, and now offers us salvation from the penalty for our sins. We have only to accept His offer, once we are empowered to by the Spirit, and once it is given. We must repent of our sins, acknowledge Jesus as Lord and God, and follow Him.

So, I think you’re asking the wrong question. Since Jesus is God – of course He knew His death was not permanent. However, that is not the operative factor in why it was important – nor does it matter. The importance of His death lies in His identity and His perfection – not in His knowledge.