The timing of the final betrayal of Jesus by Judas on Thursday night (the Passover starts at sundown on Thursday), and the constraint of having to consummate everything by sundown the following day…the start of the Sabbath…effectively narrows the crucifixion of Jesus Christ the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8) to the day of the Passover.
The religious rulers thought they were in control, but God set up all of these events to lead to the outcome He had planned long ago (1 Cor. 2:8).
When modern-day Christians read this account of how much precise planning and effort was put in by God to accomplish something as important as the crucifixion of His Son Jesus, the natural question might be asked…would God care that much about me to put in the same quality and amount of thought, planning, and care into the situations and circumstances of my life?
From the biblical accounts in the four gospels of the cross and the resurrection, we see what God is capable of doing.
But if I yield and surrender my life to God, like Jesus did, can I count on God being able and willing to divide truth from error in my life, and to arrange events large and small to produce good for myself and others on some scale to match the brilliance we see in the life of Jesus?
Will God write a script for me with as much care and precision like He did with the fine-tuned events surrounding the cross and the resurrection?
The answer to this fundamental question of the Christian life is already previewed within the account of the events of the cross itself. Already contained within the intricately planned and executed events of the cross is a pattern in action of God’s outreach to mankind and to each individual person.
The cross and the resurrection were not for the sake of Jesus. They were for us. The cross is God’s gift of love to mankind to reconcile us back to Himself. It shouts with sublime passion “I love you enough to take upon myself the inescapable penalty for sin.”
In the well-crafted details of Jesus experiencing the events of the cross and the resurrection, we see God’s demonstrated intention and desire to work for and within every person who chooses Him…this same brilliantly imaginative control of life’s events for our benefit. God lovingly participates in the details of our lives, always through the pattern of the cross and the resurrection. This is part of the overall program and agenda of being re-connected to God, which starts with the cross.
If we are “in Christ,” like Jesus and the Father are one, we have the same God carefully orchestrating events in our lives as well (Jn. 17:23).
This begins with the unique and different set of life circumstances which brings each of us to a salvation quality, born-again faith.
This is why the Holy Spirit lives within the born-again Christian, to lead us into all truth, through experiences composed and guided just for us by God Himself (Jn. 14:16-17).
This is a part of the good news of the gospel…that God has imaginative solutions to the individual challenges of our lives through Jesus Christ…starting with the solution of the cross applied to the human problem of sin…and finishing with a meaningful and purposeful walk of faith in service to God.
The Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, and lawyers in Jerusalem remained unchanged all the way up to 70 A.D. They were still erroneously looking for their worldly political and military-style messiah who would free them from Rome…and establish economic and political prosperity.
They pushed God away during the inspired ministry of John the Baptist. They rejected and crucified Jesus the Christ. They persecuted the early Christian church. They were eventually crushed by the Roman army under Titus in 70 A.D., who demolished their city Jerusalem…scattering the Jews throughout the Middle East, Northern Africa, and Europe for the next 1900 years.
The essence of sin says to God: “Who are you to tell me what to do or how to live my life,” and “why should I go by your standards instead of my own?”
These questions are difficult to answer back using words only. They require a practical demonstration of the pros and cons through actual life experience. They require a test where success and failure are real possibilities.
That is one of the reasons why this current world exists. The cross of Christ is the key, pivotal demonstration of the answer.
A beneficent God says: “I have your best interests at heart…my actions on the cross for you prove this…follow me…I have been around a long time…I know what I am doing.”
People of faith accept the invitation, believe, and follow. Rebellious people who are carnally minded and living in the flesh, like the example of the first-century Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes, say: “No, we will live by our own wisdom and volition.”
God has already laid-out in detail the events of the end-times. They are all there in verses scattered throughout the Old Testament, in the four gospels, in the book of Acts, in the letters of the apostles to the churches, and in the book of Revelation. Additional detailed information will be revealed some day through the dreams, visions, and prophesies described in Joel 2:28-29.
Just like the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus, these end-times events are already scripted-out and have a definite starting time in the near future.
As with the events leading up to the cross, God’s ingenious plans and designs will be interwoven into the fabric of the end-times political events, working His will and exposing truth versus error…for one last emphatic time in human history.