Behold the Cross: WHERE THE INTENTIONS OF RELIGIOUS MEN & THE ACTIONS OF SINFUL MEN FULFILL THE WILL OF THE FATHER

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as written and recorded by the apostle John. More specifically, today’s passage begins with the thirty-eighth verse of the nineteenth chapter and continues through to the tenth verse of the twentieth chapter. When you come to this particular passage of Scripture you will find the time Jesus spent on the cross having come to a close and Him yielding up the ghost. As you read the words which are written and recorded in this particular section of Scripture you will encounter Pontius Pilate—after publicly declaring that he had found no fault in Jesus—handing Him over to be crucified. In the sixteenth verse of the nineteenth chapter we find Pilate delivering Jesus to be crucified, and when you continue reading within that verse you will find it written how they took Jesus and led Him away. Where they led Jesus was a place outside of the city, for they would and could not publicly execute Him within the walls of the city—especially considering the fact that the Jewish people were preparing themselves to celebrate the Passover. In the sixteenth verse of this chapter we find Jesus being handed over by Pilate to be crucified, as well as Jesus being taken from where He stood before Pilate, and led Him away. It’s when you come to the seventeenth verse where you encounter the exact place and location where they took Jesus, for within this verse you will read how Jesus bearing His cross went forth into a place called “The Place of a Skull,” which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. It would be there in the place of a skull called Golgotha where they would crucify Jesus in the midst of two others—one on each side of Him, and Jesus in the center. It’s actually quite interesting to think about the events which took place surrounding Jesus’ death, for after standing trial before Pontius Pilate and Pilate not only finding any fault with Jesus, but also declaring publicly that he had found no fault with Jesus, the Son of the living God would find Himself being handed over to be publicly crucified at the behest of the Jewish leaders, scribes, Pharisees, and all those who sought and cried for Jesus’ death. It’s quite astonishing to think about and consider the fact that surrounding the time Jesus spent on the cross were a series of a number of events which were recorded by the four gospel writers. I am completely and utterly fascinated with and by the individual accounts and descriptions the four gospel authors wrote concerning the death and crucifixion of Jesus the Christ, for each of them—while presenting the picture of Jesus’ death—provided their own unique perspective on the death of the Son of God and the Messiah of the Jewish people. Of the four different accounts of the death of Jesus the Christ, two were written and recorded by actual apostles of Jesus the Christ, while another was written by a beloved physician based on eye witness testimonies, and another written by a Gentile convert by the name of John Mark.

If there is one thing I can’t help but be absolutely and incredibly confronted with when reading and considering the Scriptures that present us with Jesus’ death, it’s that none of the gospel authors simply wrote that Jesus was handed by Pilate to be crucified and that Jesus simply died and was buried. As you read the four distinct and different accounts of the death of Jesus the Christ you will find that each of the New Testament gospel authors presented us with certain events which described their own perspective on the death of the Son of God upon the cruel Roman tree outside Jerusalem at Golgotha. What’s more, is that of the four gospel accounts, there appears to have been one account that was written by one who was actually there at the scene of Jesus’ death. Upon reading the words which are written within the nineteenth chapter of the gospel written by the apostle John you will quickly come face to face with the fact that the apostle John was there before the cross as Jesus hung suspended between earth and heaven before all those who were present to the event. Pause for a moment and consider what that must have looked and felt like for the apostle John to actually witness and behold the death of Jesus the Christ upon the cross. It’s one thing to read the four gospel accounts of the death of Jesus the Christ as He hung there suspended between earth and sky before those who accused Him, and perhaps even some of those who cried out for Him to be crucified. Consider what it must have been like to stand before the cross in the company of those who accused Jesus, those who handed Jesus over to be tried, those who had actually hammered the nails into His wrists and feet, those who had mocked and ridiculed the very Son of God. Oh I can’t help but wonder what it was like for the apostle John—and even Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the wife of Cleophas—to stand before the cross as they stood among those who not only accused and vehemently hated Jesus the Christ, but also those who carried out the sentence and execution. What was it like for Mary to watch her Son hang there naked, bleeding, bruised, and broken upon the cross with a crown of thorns upon His head with His hands outstretched and nailed to the cross beam of the cross, and His feet and ankles nailed to the upright bar of the cross? What was it like for the apostle whom Jesus loved to stand there at the foot of the cross and behold as the One who had called both he and his brother nearly four years earlier from their nets, from their father’s ship, and from their life as fisherman—as He hung there naked, bleeding, broken and humiliated upon the cross? What was it like to watch the One whom you walked with and followed for three and a half years to hang there naked, bleeding and broken upon the cross before those who would mock, those who would ridicule, and those who would scorn the One who hung upon the cross?

In all reality, I can’t help but wonder what it must have been like for the apostle John to stand there with Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene as they beheld the hope of Israel hanging their suspended between earth and heaven on a cruel Roman instrument of death. What is actually quite unique about the account of Jesus’ death and crucifixion which was written by the apostle John was that it wasn’t written based on eyewitness accounts which were passed on and delivered unto him. When the apostle John writes about the death and crucifixion of Jesus the Christ he wrote about that death as an eyewitness himself who stood before the cross and beheld the very Son of God—the One whom he had seen transfigured atop the mountain with Moses and Elijah—on the verge of death upon the cross. The account which the apostle John wrote concerning the death of Jesus the Christ was one that was written based on actually standing there before the cross and beholding Jesus as He hung there with arms outstretched before those who would scorn, mock and ridicule Him. BEHOLD THE CROSS! BEHOLD THE MAN! BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD! At the beginning of the New Testament gospel of John we find John the Baptist looking upon and beholding Jesus the Christ and not once, but twice emphatically declaring unto those who walked with him, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” This statement and invitation to behold the Lamb of God was made before the public ministry of Jesus the Christ had even begun, and yet I can’t help but think about and consider the reality of that statement as the apostle John and the three women who were present at the foot of the cross stood there and actually beheld the Lamb of God upon the actual altar of sacrifice. At the very beginning of the gospel which was written by the apostle John we encounter the statement of the Lamb of God, and yet by the time we come to the nineteenth chapter of the gospel we actually find the Lamb of God—not simply beheld as He walked among men, but as He hung upon the cruel Roman instrument of death known as the cross, and did so among those who would mock, scorn and ridicule Him. I can’t help but wonder what it was like to stand before the cross as the apostle John and the women who were with him did and gaze upon Jesus the Christ as He hung there upon the cross in agony, in pain, and in suffering. I can’t help but wonder what it was like as the apostle John stood there with those three women watching as Jesus hung suspended between earth and sky in agony, in anguish, and undoubtedly in excruciating pain from the torture He had experience before even being nailed to the cross, from the crown of thorns that was upon His brow, and from the nails which were hammered through His wrists and feet. Interestingly enough, however, there was not a single bone of Jesus which was broken during the process of torture, nor even during the process of crucifixion which took place there outside Jerusalem at Golgotha.

Taking a step in a different direction in this writing about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, I have to admit that perhaps the reality that most consumes my thoughts, and the reality which strikes me the most is the incredible amount of detail that is placed upon the prophetic words which were spoken by the ancient Hebrew prophets—and even in the Law. As you read the words which were written concerning the trial, the death, the burial and resurrection of Jesus the Christ you will quickly encounter and come face to face with the tremendous amount of emphasis that was placed on His death not fulfilling the wishes and desires of sinful men, nor even religious men, but rather fulfilling the divine plan and purposes of the living God. If you read the words which were written concerning the betrayal of Jesus, the trial which Jesus stood before the high priest, and later Pontius Pilate, and even the torture and ultimate death of Jesus, you will come face to face with and encounter the awesome and incredible reality that the events surrounding His death—although they were brought about by the hands and intentions of sinful and religious men—were part of something much larger and much greater than they were even aware of. The more I read and the more I consider the words which were written concerning the trial, the death, the burial and the resurrection of Jesus the Christ, the more I am confronted with the reality of how His death didn’t satisfy and fulfill the desires, the intentions, and the wishes of sinful and religious men, but actually superseded and went far beyond that which they perceived was taking place. To the religious community of that day they viewed the death of Jesus the Christ as the fulfillment of their hatred, their animosity, their malice, and their utter detest for this One who claimed Himself to be the Son of God, and could not even comprehend that what was actually taking place was something much greater and much larger than what they were even aware of. To the sinful men who actually carried out the torture of Jesus the Christ—and ultimately the death and crucifixion of Jesus—this death was simply the fulfillment of that which was granted by Pilate, and another individual being put to death by means of crucifixion. It’s interesting and worth noting that at the time these events were taking place and unfolding no one in Jerusalem knew and yet understood that was taking place was actually greater than the intentions, the desires and the wishes of men. During the time of Jesus’ trial, torture, death and crucifixion, and burial and resurrection, there were very few—if any—who truly understood and recognized that Jesus’ death was actually fulfilling the prophetic words which were spoken concerning Him. It wouldn’t be until decades later when the disciples and followers of Jesus Christ would recognize and understand that the events surrounding His death would actually fulfill that which was spoken and prophesied concerning Him by the ancient Hebrew prophets.

With this reality of the death of Jesus going far beyond the intentions, the desires and the wishes of sinful men and touching the realm of the prophetic words which were spoken by the Hebrew prophets, there is something else that it touches—something that is written and manifested within the gospel accounts which were written concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ. If and as you read the various New Testament gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will quickly come face to face with the fact that even Jesus Himself spoke about His betrayal, His suffering, His death, and ultimately His resurrection. If you turn and direct your attention back to the first New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as written and recorded by the apostle Matthew you will encounter in the sixteenth chapter Jesus beginning to speak unto His disciples concerning the events which would take place and unfold during those days—events which would surround His betrayal, His suffering, and ultimately His death, burial and resurrection. Before getting into the prophetic element that surrounds the suffering, the torture, and ultimately the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, I feel it is absolutely necessary to think about and consider the fact that the events surrounding His suffering and death did not take Jesus by surprise, and Jesus knew and recognized that it was for this reason and this purpose that He was sent into the world to dwell among sinful and religious men. When you begin reading with and from the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew you will encounter Jesus speaking unto the disciples concerning His need to go unto Jerusalem, and to suffer many things at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and ultimately to be killed and raised from death to life on the third day. Consider if you will the words which are written within this particular passage—words which were written immediately following the emphatic declaration Simon called Peter made concerning Jesus being the Christ and the Son of the living God. Beginning with the twenty-first verse of the sixteenth chapter we will find the following words written and recorded by the apostle Matthew:

“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: This shall not be unto thee. But He turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to His works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom” (Matthew 16:21-28).

If you continue reading in the four gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will find other instances and other occurrences when it was written concerning Jesus the Christ speaking unto the disciples privately and declaring unto them the events which would take place before and upon Him. After immediately declaring unto Simon called Peter that flesh and blood had not revealed unto him the revelation that He was the Christ and the Son of the living God, but rather His Father in heaven who revealed it unto Him, and after declaring unto Simon and the other disciples that upon this rock would He build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it, Jesus would begin teaching and speaking unto them how He must needs go unto Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel, and be put to death, and ultimately be raised from death to life on the third day. If you continue reading in the next chapter you will actually find words written in red, which present us with the awesome and tremendous reality of Jesus speaking unto His disciples concerning that which would unfold in the days to come in the city of Jerusalem concerning and surrounding Him. If you turn and direct your attention to verses twenty-two and twenty-three you will find the following words which Jesus spoke unto His disciples concerning that which would come upon and befall Him after He made His way unto the city of Jerusalem. Consider if you will the following words which were spoken by Jesus the Christ unto His disciples concerning the events which would take place within the city of Jerusalem: “And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: and they shall kill Him, and the third day He shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry” (Matthew 17:22). The words which we find in this particular set of verses are also written and recorded in other locations within the four gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, and I would invite you to turn and direct your attention—first to the words which are written and recorded in the ninth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Mark, and secondly to the ninth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Luke. It is within each of these passages that we find the accounts of Jesus speaking unto His disciples concerning the suffering He must experience at the hands of the chief priests, the scribes, and elders of Israel, and ultimately His death and crucifixion. In verses thirty through thirty-two of the ninth chapter of the New Testament gospel you will find the following words: “And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and He would not that any man should know it. For He taught His disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill Him; and after that He is killed, He shall rise the third day. But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask Him” (Mark 9:30-32). In verses forty-three through forty-five of the ninth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Luke you will find the following words which were recorded by the beloved physician: “And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, He said unto His disciples, Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men. But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask Him of that saying” (Luke 9:43-45).

As I sit here this morning I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated by the tremendous reality that the betrayal, the trial, the torture, and even the death of Jesus the Christ did not take place because man willed it, because man desired it, and even because it was within the hearts of men to bring about. If there is one thing we must recognize and understand concerning the death of Jesus the Christ, it’s that His death did not fulfill or somehow satisfy the intentions and will of men, but rather took place according to the predeterminate counsel and will of the eternal Father. If you read the four gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as written by the individual gospel authors you will notice the tremendous amount of language that was placed on how the events which took place around the death of Jesus the Christ took place—not to fulfill that which was desired by man, but rather to fulfill that which was written concerning Him within the Scriptures. Oh dear reader, please allow the truth of this to truly strike at the very depths and core of your heart and spirit, for when you consider the events which took place concerning the suffering and death of Jesus the Christ—and even the burial and resurrection of Jesus the Christ—you must consider and understand that though religious men desired the death of Jesus, and though sinful men carried out the sentence to execute and crucify Jesus, it was not to somehow fulfill the desires and wishes of men. It would be very easy to read the four gospel accounts of the suffering and death of Jesus the Christ and automatically think that the events which took place were carried out to somehow fulfill the desires and wishes of religious man, the actions of sinful men, and even the desire of those who cried out in the hearing of Pilate to crucify Jesus the Christ. The truth of the matter is that absolutely nothing which befell, and absolutely nothing which took place upon Jesus the Christ did so apart from the divine counsel and wisdom of the living and eternal God. There was absolutely nothing which came upon Jesus the Christ which Jesus the Christ was not already aware of, nor was there anything that came upon Jesus the Christ which Jesus did not already know as having been in the heart and mind of the Father. What’s more, is that the events which took place concerning Jesus the Christ were not to fulfill the desires, the intentions and the wishes of men, but rather to fulfill that which was written concerning the Son of Man in the Law and the prophets. If you read the words which were written concerning the suffering and death of Jesus the Christ, you will find it written over and over again how the events surrounding His death took place according to that which was written concerning Him in the Law and the prophets, and not to somehow fulfill the desires and intentions of man. Oh, I can’t help but be reminded of the words which Joseph emphatically declared unto his brethren when they stood before him in the land of Egypt after he had risen to be second in all of Egypt next to Pharaoh himself, for Joseph proclaimed unto that though they intended evil toward and against him, the living God intended and turned it around for good that He might fulfill and accomplish His divine plans and purposes.

I feel it absolutely necessary to bring you face to face with the four accounts of the suffering and death of Jesus the Christ, for it is within these four accounts you will come face to face with the incredible language and emphasis that is placed on the events which took place as not fulfilling the desires and intentions of man, but rather fulfilling the desires and intentions of the eternal Father which was written and expressed through the Law and the ancient Hebrew prophets. As you read and consider the various accounts of the suffering and death of Jesus the Christ I would encourage you to take notice and mark within your heart and mind the emphasis that was placed on how the events which befell and came upon Jesus the Christ took place that it might fulfill that which was spoken by the ancient Hebrew prophets, and that which was written within the Law. If we are going to truly understand the suffering and death of Jesus the Christ we must understand that it took place that the words which the eternal God anointed and ordained holy men of God to speak and proclaim might be fulfilled in and at the appointed time within and upon the earth. It would be very easy to allow ourselves to get caught up in the intentions and desires of religious men, and even the actions of sinful men, yet neither the intentions of religious men, nor the actions of sinful men were the ultimate authority over the events surrounding the suffering and death of Jesus the Christ. THE INTENTIONS OF RELIGIOUS MEN & THE ACTIONS OF SINFUL MEN! WHEN THE INTENTIONS OF RELIGIOUS MEN AND THE ACTIONS OF SINFUL MEN BOW DOWN TO THE WILL OF THE ETERNAL FATHER! Consider if you will the words which were written concerning the death of Jesus the Christ, and recognize the tremendous emphasis that was placed on how that which took place would be manifested in the earth that the Scriptures might be fulfilled:

“Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto Him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped Him, and put on Him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before Him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon Him, and took the reed, and smote Him on the head. And after that they had mocked Him, they took the robe off from Him, and put His own raiment on Him, and let Him away to crucify Him. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear His cross. And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, they gave Him vinegar to drink, mixed with gall: and when He had tasted thereof, He would not drink. And they crucified Him, and parted His garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lost. And sitting down they watched Him there; and set up over His head His accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then were there two thieves crucified with Him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. And they that passed by reviled Him, wagging their heads, and saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking Him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him no come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him: for He said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vein guard, and put it on a reed, and gave Him to drink. The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save Him. Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the Temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arise, and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto Him: among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children” (Matthew 26:27-56).

“And the soldiers led Him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they called together the whole band. And they clothed Him with purpose, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about His head, and began to salute Him, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote Him not he head with a reed, and did spit upon Him, and bowing their knees worshiped Him. And when they had mocked Him, they took off the purpose from Him, and put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify him. And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear His cross. And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not. And when they had crucified Him, the parted His garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him. And the superscription of His accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS. And with Him the crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors. And they that passed by railed on Him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the tempest, and buildest it in three days, save thyself, and come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; Himself He cannot save. Let Chris the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with Him reviled Him. And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? Which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold he calleth Elias. And one ran and filled a sponge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, gave Him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take Him down. And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost” (Mark 15:16-37).

“And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted His raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided Him, saying, He saved others; let Him save Himself, if He be Christ, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked Him, coming to Him, and offering Him vinegar, and saying, If thou be the King of the Jews, save thyself. And a superscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THE IS THE KING OF THE JEWS! And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on Him, saying, If thou be the Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto Him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt you be with me in paradise. And it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, He said, Father into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, He gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, He glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man. And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their beasts, and returned. And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed Him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things” (Luke 23: 33-49).

I sit here this morning and I can’t help but be absolutely and completely overwhelmed with the reality that despite the fact religious men sought to put Jesus to death, and despite the fact sinful men actually carried out the act of sinful men—both of which you have just read mocked and ridiculed Him—nothing that befell and nothing that came upon Jesus took place to fulfill and satisfy the desires and intentions of men. Absolutely everything Jesus faced and experienced—from His betrayal, to His trial, to His torture and suffering, to His death, and ultimately according to His resurrection—was according to the predeterminate will and counsel of the living God. This is one single reality we must come face to face with, for not only did the suffering and death of Jesus the Christ take place according to that which was written and spoken concerning Him, but so also did His resurrection and ascension take place according to that which was written concerning Him. This actually brings me to an absolutely incredible reality and truth—namely, that what we face and what we experience within and throughout the course of our lives—while and even though it might seem and appear that it is taking place at the behest of religious and sinful men—cannot take place apart from the predeterminate counsel and will of the eternal Father. IF there is one thing we must recognize and understand when reading the details surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it’s that in both suffering and death, as well as in resurrection the will of the Father was fulfilled and accomplished. This reality must be carefully considered within our hearts and minds, for it has the ability to dramatically alter and shape how we view our own suffering, and our own trials and troubles we face. There is a tendency and temptation to think that what might befall and come upon us might be the result of the intentions and actions of men and may even come as a result of the hands of men, and yet the underlying truth of the matter is that there is absolutely nothing that can take place apart from and outside of the the divine will, plan and purpose of the Father. I leave you with the words which the apostle Paul wrote which are recorded for us in the eighth chapter of the epistle beginning to read with and from the twenty-eighth verse:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them also He called: and whom he called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spare not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, ye rather, that it risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also make the intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:28-39).

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