Tuesday, March 26, 2024

According to Plan

But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. (Isaiah 53:10 NLT)

It seems like every time we turn around, another high-profile trial is underway. But the most important trial in human history took place in the first century. It was the greatest travesty of justice this world has ever seen, and its impact continues to this very day. It was when God went on trial.

As Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, a large military force led by Judas Iscariot came to arrest Him. Peter, in a last-minute effort, tried to save the Lord. He pulled out a sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant, whom Jesus promptly healed. That, by the way, was the last miracle Jesus performed before His death and resurrection.

The soldiers first took Jesus to Annas, the former high priest. He also was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest at the time. But Annas was a shadowy, godfather-like figure, and he was the one in control.

Annas had a score to settle with Jesus. Earlier, Jesus had gone into the temple and overturned the merchants’ tables, saying, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves” (Mark 11:17 NLT). Jesus did this not once but twice.

Annas controlled those tables. In fact, they were known as the booths of Annas. He was ripping off God’s people, and Jesus was bad for his business.

Thus, Annas bound Jesus and sent Him to Caiaphas, the ruling high priest who ultimately condemned Jesus to death and sent Him to Pilate for execution. In the midst of all this, they beat Jesus and put Him in chains.

Within twelve hours of His arrest, Christ was beaten and bloodied beyond human recognition and hanging on a crude Roman cross.

But there was more happening behind the scenes that day. It wasn’t simply a story about Annas or Caiaphas or Pilate or even Judas Iscariot. It was the story of good and evil at work.

Satan wanted Jesus dead, so he marshaled his forces and played his wicked hand. In contrast, God wanted the sin of the world to be dealt with. And that only would happen through the death of His Son.

Unbeknownst to them, they were playing into the perfect plan and purpose of God. God the Father declared that the Messiah would not only die for the sins of the world but also die by crucifixion.

Psalm 22 has our Lord saying, “They have pierced my hands and feet” (verse 16 NLT). And Isaiah 53, written hundreds of years before Jesus died, gives a vivid description of what happened when Christ suffered and died. That was the plan of God all along.

Jesus Himself pointed out to His own disciples that He would be betrayed and sentenced to die. They would mock and whip and crucify Him, but on the third day, He would rise from the dead. It all was going according to plan—God’s plan.

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