Wednesday Events – Passion Week – and Judas Iscariot,the suicide of Satan and the Salvation of the World

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

(via) Justin Taylor from the Gospel Coalition

Holy Week: What Happened on Wednesday?

Jesus continues his daily teaching in the Temple

Luke 21:37-38

With Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread approaching, the chief priests, elders, and scribes plot to kill Jesus

Matthew 26:3-5 Mark 14:1-2 Luke 22:1-2

Satan enters Judas, who seeks out the Jewish authorities in order to betray Jesus for a price

Matthew 26:14-16 Mark 14:10-11 Luke 22:3-6

Luke 22:1-6

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. 2 And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people. 3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. 4 He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. 5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. 6 So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.

This is the final message in the series called Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ. The aim has been to show that over and over in the history of the world, the epoch-making sins that changed the course of history never nullified but only fulfilled the global purposes of God to glorify his Son and save his people.

My prayer is that, as these great historical vistas of God’s sovereignty over sin take their place in your renewed mind, they would have a profoundly practical effect in making you strong in the face of breath-stopping sorrows and making you bold for Christ in the face of dangerous opposition. Christ-exalting strength in calamity and Christ-exalting courage in conflict. I pray that the Lord will weave cords of steel and silk into the fabric of your soul.

History’s Most Spectacular Sin: The Murder of Jesus

The most spectacular sin that has ever been committed in the history of the world is the brutal murder of Jesus Christ, the morally perfect, infinitely worthy, divine Son of God. And probably the most despicable act in the process of this murder was the betrayal of Jesus by one of his closest friends, Judas Iscariot.

Judas was one of the twelve apostles that Jesus had personally chosen and who had been with Jesus during his entire public ministry. He had been entrusted with the moneybag for the whole group (John 13:29). He was close enough to Jesus at the Last Supper to be dipping bread with him in the same cup (Mark 14:20).

“Satan Entered into Judas”

On the night of the Last Supper, Luke tells us in Luke 22:3-6 that “Satan entered into Judas. . . . He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray [Jesus] to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.” Later he led the authorities to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and betrayed Jesus with a kiss (Luke 22:47-48). With that, Jesus’ death was sealed.

When Luke tells us in verse 3 that “Satan entered into Judas,” several questions come to our minds. 1) One is whether Satan simply mastered a good Judas or whether Judas was already walking in line with Satan and Satan simply decided that now is the time. 2) Another question is why Satan would do this since the death and resurrection of Jesus would result in Satan’s final defeat, and there is good reason to think Satan knew that. 3) And the third and most important question is: Where was God when this happened? What was his role or non-role in the most spectacular sin that ever was? So let’s take these questions one at a time.

1) Satan’s Power in Judas’ Sinful Passions

When it says in Luke 22:3 that “Satan entered into Judas,” how are we to think about the will of Judas and the power of Satan? Judas was not an innocent bystander when Satan entered into him. The apostle John tells us in John 12:6 that he was a thief. When Judas complained that Mary had wasted money in anointing Jesus, John comments, “He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.”

If that sounds incredible, just think of the scandalous behavior of so-called Christian leaders today who use ministry gifts to buy $39,000 worth of clothes at one store in a year, and send their kids on a $29,000 trip to the Bahamas, and drive a white Lexus and a red Mercedes. As Judas sat beside Jesus with his pious, religious face and went out and cast out demons in Jesus’ name, he was not a righteous lover of Jesus. He loved money. He loved the power and pleasures that money could by.

Paul tells us how that works together with Satan’s power. Listen to Ephesians 2:1-3: “You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air [notice the connection: dead in sins, following Satan], the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Dead in our sins, walking in the passions of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of body and mind, and therefore following the prince of the power of the air.

Satan does not take innocent people captive. There are no innocent people. Satan has power where sinful passions hold sway. Judas was a lover of money, and he covered it with a phony, external relationship with Jesus. And then he sold him for thirty pieces of silver. How many of his tribe are there still today! Don’t be one. And don’t be duped by one.

2) Satan’s Role in His Own Destruction

The second question is why Satan would lead Judas to betray Jesus. Doesn’t he know that the death and resurrection of Jesus would result in Satan’s final defeat (Colossians 2:13-15; Revelation 12:11)? There’s good reason to think Satan knew that.

When Jesus began his ministry on the way to the cross, Satan tried to turn him away from the path of suffering and sacrifice. In the wilderness, he tempted him to turn stones into bread and jump off the temple and get the rulership of the world by worshipping him (Matthew 4:1-11). The point of all these temptations is: Don’t walk the path of suffering and sacrifice and death. Use your power to escape suffering. If you’re the Son of God, show your right to reign. And I can help you do it. Whatever you do, don’t go to the cross.

Then do you remember the time when Jesus predicted he would suffer many things from the elders and the chief priests and be killed and Peter rebuked him and said, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you” (Matthew 16:22). In other words, I will never let you be killed like that. Jesus did not commend him. He said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Matthew 16:23). Hindering Jesus from going to the cross was the work of Satan. Satan did not want Jesus crucified. It would be his undoing.

But here he is in Luke 22:3 entering into Judas and leading him to betray the Lord and bring him to the cross. Why the about face? Why try to divert him from the cross and then take the initiative to bring him to the cross? We are not told. Here is my effort at an answer: Satan saw his efforts to divert Jesus from the cross failing. Time after time, Jesus kept the course. His face was set like flint to die, and Satan concludes that there is no stopping him. Therefore he resolves that if he can’t stop it, he will at least make it as ugly and painful and as heartbreaking as possible. Not just death, but death by betrayal. Death by abandonment. Death by denial (see Luke 22:31-32). If he could not stop it, he would drag others into it and do as much damage as he could. It was a spectacular sequence of sins that brought Jesus to the cross.

3) God’s Role in the Murder of His Son

Which brings us now to the third and final question—the most important one: Where was God when this happened? Or more precisely: What was God’s role or non-role in the most spectacular sin that ever happened—the murder of Jesus Christ?

To answer a question like that we should put our hands on our mouths and silence our philosophical speculations. Our opinions don’t count here. All that counts is what God himself as shown us in his word. And the first thing he shows us is that the details surrounding the death of Jesus are prophesied in God’s word hundreds of years before they happen.

The Scriptures prophesy that evil men will reject Jesus when he comes.

Matthew 21:42: “Jesus said to them (quoting Psalm 118:22), ‘Have you never read in the Scriptures: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes”?’”

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus must be hated.

In John 15:25, Jesus quoted Psalm 35:19 and said, “The word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’”

The Scriptures prophesy that the disciples would abandon Jesus.

In Matthew 26:31, he quotes Zechariah 13:7: “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’”

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus will be pierced but none of his bones will be broken.

John quotes Psalm 34:20 and Zechariah 12:10 and says, “One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear. . . . For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken.’ And again another Scripture says, ‘They will look on him whom they have pierced’” (John 19:34-37).

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus would be betrayed by a close friend for thirty pieces of silver.

In John 13:18, Jesus cites Psalm 41:9 and says, “I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’”

And in Matthew 26:24, Jesus says, “The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!”

And in Matthew 27:9-10, it says, “Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me’” (Jeremiah 19:1-13; Zechariah 11:12-13).

And not only the Scriptures, but Jesus himself prophesies, down to the details, how he will be killed.

In Mark 10:33-34, he says, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”

And on that last night, Jesus looked at Peter and said, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times” (Matthew 26:34).

According to His Sovereign Will

From all these prophesies, we know that God foresaw, and did not prevent, and therefore included in his plan that his Son would be rejected, hated, abandoned, betrayed, denied, condemned, spit upon, flogged, mocked, pierced, and killed. All these are explicitly in God’s mind before they happen as things that he plans will happen to Jesus. These things did not just happen. They were foretold in God’s word. God knew they would happen and could have planned to stop them, but didn’t. So they happened according to his sovereign will.

And all of them were evil. They were sin. It is sin to reject, hate, abandon, betray, deny, condemn, spit upon, flog, mock, pierce, and kill the morally perfect, infinitely worthy, divine Son of God. And yet the Bible is explicit and clear that God himself planned these things. It is explicit not only in all the prophetic texts we have seen, but also in passages that say even more plainly that God brought these things to pass.

God Brought It to Pass

For example, in Isaiah 53:6 and 10, it says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. . . . It was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief.” So behind the spitting and flogging and mocking and piercing is the invisible hand and plan of God.

And I say that carefully and with trembling. This truth is too big and too weighty and too shocking to be glib about or to be cocky about. I choose to say that the invisible hand and plan of God are behind these most spectacular sins in all the universe—more grievous and more spectacular than the fall of Satan or any others. The reason I use these very words is because the Bible says it in those very words.

The Hand and Plan of God

In Acts 4:27-28, we have the clearest, most explicit statement about God’s hand and plan behind the horrific crucifixion of his Son. “Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand (cheir) and your plan (boule) had predestined to take place.” Those are the two words I am using: the hand of God and the plan of God.

It is a strange way of speaking—to say that God’s hand and plan have predestined something to happen. One does not ordinarily think of God’s “hand” predestining. How does a hand predestine? Here’s what I think it means: The hand of God ordinarily stands for God’s exerted power—not power in the abstract, but earthly, effective exertions of power. The point of combining it with “plan” is to say that it is not just a theoretical plan; it is plan that will be executed by God’s own hand.

This explains Isaiah 53:10: “It was the will of the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief.” Or more literally, with the King James Version, “It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.” The Lord bruised him. Behind Herod and Pilate and the Gentiles and the people of Israel was Jesus’ own Father who loved him with an infinite love.

The Gospel: God At Work in Death

Why should this matter to you? It should matter because if God were not the main Actor in the death of Christ, then the death of Christ could not save us from our sins and we would perish in hell forever. The reason the death of Christ is the heart of gospel—the heart of the good news—is God was doing it. Romans 5:8: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” If you break God’s activity from the death of Jesus, you lose the gospel. This was God’s doing. It is the highest and deepest point of his love for sinners. His love for you.

Romans 8:3: “Sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.” God condemned sin in Jesus’ flesh with our condemnation. So we are free.

Galatians 3:13: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” God cursed Jesus with the curse that belonged on us. So we are free.

2 Corinthians 5:21: “For our sake [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” God imputed our sin to him, and now we go free in God’s righteousness.

Isaiah 53:5: “He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities.” God wounded him. God crushed him. For you and me. And we go free.

The Cross of Christ: The Work and Love of God

The reason why this series of messages matters is this. If you embrace the biblical truth (and I pray you will) that God ordains spectacular sins for the global glory of his Son, without in anyway becoming unholy or unrighteous or sinful in that act, then you will not shrink back from the cross of Christ as a work of God. You will not be among the number of those who call the most loving act that ever was “divine child abuse.” You will come to the cross and fall on your face. And you will say: This is no mere human conspiracy. This is the work of God and the love of God. You will it receive as his highest gift. And you will be saved. And Christ will be glorified. And I will not have preached in vain.

© Desiring God

Passion Week – Wednesday Events and Judas Iscariot,the suicide of Satan and the Salvation of the World

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

(via) Justin Taylor from the Gospel Coalition

Holy Week: What Happened on Wednesday?

Jesus continues his daily teaching in the Temple

Luke 21:37-38

With Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread approaching, the chief priests, elders, and scribes plot to kill Jesus

Matthew 26:3-5 Mark 14:1-2 Luke 22:1-2

Satan enters Judas, who seeks out the Jewish authorities in order to betray Jesus for a price

Matthew 26:14-16 Mark 14:10-11 Luke 22:3-6

Luke 22:1-6

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. 2 And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people. 3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. 4 He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. 5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. 6 So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.

This is the final message in the series called Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ. The aim has been to show that over and over in the history of the world, the epoch-making sins that changed the course of history never nullified but only fulfilled the global purposes of God to glorify his Son and save his people.

My prayer is that, as these great historical vistas of God’s sovereignty over sin take their place in your renewed mind, they would have a profoundly practical effect in making you strong in the face of breath-stopping sorrows and making you bold for Christ in the face of dangerous opposition. Christ-exalting strength in calamity and Christ-exalting courage in conflict. I pray that the Lord will weave cords of steel and silk into the fabric of your soul.

History’s Most Spectacular Sin: The Murder of Jesus

The most spectacular sin that has ever been committed in the history of the world is the brutal murder of Jesus Christ, the morally perfect, infinitely worthy, divine Son of God. And probably the most despicable act in the process of this murder was the betrayal of Jesus by one of his closest friends, Judas Iscariot.

Judas was one of the twelve apostles that Jesus had personally chosen and who had been with Jesus during his entire public ministry. He had been entrusted with the moneybag for the whole group (John 13:29). He was close enough to Jesus at the Last Supper to be dipping bread with him in the same cup (Mark 14:20).

“Satan Entered into Judas”

On the night of the Last Supper, Luke tells us in Luke 22:3-6 that “Satan entered into Judas. . . . He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray [Jesus] to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.” Later he led the authorities to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and betrayed Jesus with a kiss (Luke 22:47-48). With that, Jesus’ death was sealed.

When Luke tells us in verse 3 that “Satan entered into Judas,” several questions come to our minds. 1) One is whether Satan simply mastered a good Judas or whether Judas was already walking in line with Satan and Satan simply decided that now is the time. 2) Another question is why Satan would do this since the death and resurrection of Jesus would result in Satan’s final defeat, and there is good reason to think Satan knew that. 3) And the third and most important question is: Where was God when this happened? What was his role or non-role in the most spectacular sin that ever was? So let’s take these questions one at a time.

1) Satan’s Power in Judas’ Sinful Passions

When it says in Luke 22:3 that “Satan entered into Judas,” how are we to think about the will of Judas and the power of Satan? Judas was not an innocent bystander when Satan entered into him. The apostle John tells us in John 12:6 that he was a thief. When Judas complained that Mary had wasted money in anointing Jesus, John comments, “He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.”

If that sounds incredible, just think of the scandalous behavior of so-called Christian leaders today who use ministry gifts to buy $39,000 worth of clothes at one store in a year, and send their kids on a $29,000 trip to the Bahamas, and drive a white Lexus and a red Mercedes. As Judas sat beside Jesus with his pious, religious face and went out and cast out demons in Jesus’ name, he was not a righteous lover of Jesus. He loved money. He loved the power and pleasures that money could by.

Paul tells us how that works together with Satan’s power. Listen to Ephesians 2:1-3: “You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air [notice the connection: dead in sins, following Satan], the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Dead in our sins, walking in the passions of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of body and mind, and therefore following the prince of the power of the air.

Satan does not take innocent people captive. There are no innocent people. Satan has power where sinful passions hold sway. Judas was a lover of money, and he covered it with a phony, external relationship with Jesus. And then he sold him for thirty pieces of silver. How many of his tribe are there still today! Don’t be one. And don’t be duped by one.

2) Satan’s Role in His Own Destruction

The second question is why Satan would lead Judas to betray Jesus. Doesn’t he know that the death and resurrection of Jesus would result in Satan’s final defeat (Colossians 2:13-15; Revelation 12:11)? There’s good reason to think Satan knew that.

When Jesus began his ministry on the way to the cross, Satan tried to turn him away from the path of suffering and sacrifice. In the wilderness, he tempted him to turn stones into bread and jump off the temple and get the rulership of the world by worshipping him (Matthew 4:1-11). The point of all these temptations is: Don’t walk the path of suffering and sacrifice and death. Use your power to escape suffering. If you’re the Son of God, show your right to reign. And I can help you do it. Whatever you do, don’t go to the cross.

Then do you remember the time when Jesus predicted he would suffer many things from the elders and the chief priests and be killed and Peter rebuked him and said, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you” (Matthew 16:22). In other words, I will never let you be killed like that. Jesus did not commend him. He said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Matthew 16:23). Hindering Jesus from going to the cross was the work of Satan. Satan did not want Jesus crucified. It would be his undoing.

But here he is in Luke 22:3 entering into Judas and leading him to betray the Lord and bring him to the cross. Why the about face? Why try to divert him from the cross and then take the initiative to bring him to the cross? We are not told. Here is my effort at an answer: Satan saw his efforts to divert Jesus from the cross failing. Time after time, Jesus kept the course. His face was set like flint to die, and Satan concludes that there is no stopping him. Therefore he resolves that if he can’t stop it, he will at least make it as ugly and painful and as heartbreaking as possible. Not just death, but death by betrayal. Death by abandonment. Death by denial (see Luke 22:31-32). If he could not stop it, he would drag others into it and do as much damage as he could. It was a spectacular sequence of sins that brought Jesus to the cross.

3) God’s Role in the Murder of His Son

Which brings us now to the third and final question—the most important one: Where was God when this happened? Or more precisely: What was God’s role or non-role in the most spectacular sin that ever happened—the murder of Jesus Christ?

To answer a question like that we should put our hands on our mouths and silence our philosophical speculations. Our opinions don’t count here. All that counts is what God himself as shown us in his word. And the first thing he shows us is that the details surrounding the death of Jesus are prophesied in God’s word hundreds of years before they happen.

The Scriptures prophesy that evil men will reject Jesus when he comes.

Matthew 21:42: “Jesus said to them (quoting Psalm 118:22), ‘Have you never read in the Scriptures: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes”?’”

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus must be hated.

In John 15:25, Jesus quoted Psalm 35:19 and said, “The word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’”

The Scriptures prophesy that the disciples would abandon Jesus.

In Matthew 26:31, he quotes Zechariah 13:7: “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’”

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus will be pierced but none of his bones will be broken.

John quotes Psalm 34:20 and Zechariah 12:10 and says, “One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear. . . . For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken.’ And again another Scripture says, ‘They will look on him whom they have pierced’” (John 19:34-37).

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus would be betrayed by a close friend for thirty pieces of silver.

In John 13:18, Jesus cites Psalm 41:9 and says, “I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’”

And in Matthew 26:24, Jesus says, “The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!”

And in Matthew 27:9-10, it says, “Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me’” (Jeremiah 19:1-13; Zechariah 11:12-13).

And not only the Scriptures, but Jesus himself prophesies, down to the details, how he will be killed.

In Mark 10:33-34, he says, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”

And on that last night, Jesus looked at Peter and said, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times” (Matthew 26:34).

According to His Sovereign Will

From all these prophesies, we know that God foresaw, and did not prevent, and therefore included in his plan that his Son would be rejected, hated, abandoned, betrayed, denied, condemned, spit upon, flogged, mocked, pierced, and killed. All these are explicitly in God’s mind before they happen as things that he plans will happen to Jesus. These things did not just happen. They were foretold in God’s word. God knew they would happen and could have planned to stop them, but didn’t. So they happened according to his sovereign will.

And all of them were evil. They were sin. It is sin to reject, hate, abandon, betray, deny, condemn, spit upon, flog, mock, pierce, and kill the morally perfect, infinitely worthy, divine Son of God. And yet the Bible is explicit and clear that God himself planned these things. It is explicit not only in all the prophetic texts we have seen, but also in passages that say even more plainly that God brought these things to pass.

God Brought It to Pass

For example, in Isaiah 53:6 and 10, it says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. . . . It was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief.” So behind the spitting and flogging and mocking and piercing is the invisible hand and plan of God.

And I say that carefully and with trembling. This truth is too big and too weighty and too shocking to be glib about or to be cocky about. I choose to say that the invisible hand and plan of God are behind these most spectacular sins in all the universe—more grievous and more spectacular than the fall of Satan or any others. The reason I use these very words is because the Bible says it in those very words.

The Hand and Plan of God

In Acts 4:27-28, we have the clearest, most explicit statement about God’s hand and plan behind the horrific crucifixion of his Son. “Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand (cheir) and your plan (boule) had predestined to take place.” Those are the two words I am using: the hand of God and the plan of God.

It is a strange way of speaking—to say that God’s hand and plan have predestined something to happen. One does not ordinarily think of God’s “hand” predestining. How does a hand predestine? Here’s what I think it means: The hand of God ordinarily stands for God’s exerted power—not power in the abstract, but earthly, effective exertions of power. The point of combining it with “plan” is to say that it is not just a theoretical plan; it is plan that will be executed by God’s own hand.

This explains Isaiah 53:10: “It was the will of the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief.” Or more literally, with the King James Version, “It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.” The Lord bruised him. Behind Herod and Pilate and the Gentiles and the people of Israel was Jesus’ own Father who loved him with an infinite love.

The Gospel: God At Work in Death

Why should this matter to you? It should matter because if God were not the main Actor in the death of Christ, then the death of Christ could not save us from our sins and we would perish in hell forever. The reason the death of Christ is the heart of gospel—the heart of the good news—is God was doing it. Romans 5:8: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” If you break God’s activity from the death of Jesus, you lose the gospel. This was God’s doing. It is the highest and deepest point of his love for sinners. His love for you.

Romans 8:3: “Sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.” God condemned sin in Jesus’ flesh with our condemnation. So we are free.

Galatians 3:13: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” God cursed Jesus with the curse that belonged on us. So we are free.

2 Corinthians 5:21: “For our sake [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” God imputed our sin to him, and now we go free in God’s righteousness.

Isaiah 53:5: “He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities.” God wounded him. God crushed him. For you and me. And we go free.

The Cross of Christ: The Work and Love of God

The reason why this series of messages matters is this. If you embrace the biblical truth (and I pray you will) that God ordains spectacular sins for the global glory of his Son, without in anyway becoming unholy or unrighteous or sinful in that act, then you will not shrink back from the cross of Christ as a work of God. You will not be among the number of those who call the most loving act that ever was “divine child abuse.” You will come to the cross and fall on your face. And you will say: This is no mere human conspiracy. This is the work of God and the love of God. You will it receive as his highest gift. And you will be saved. And Christ will be glorified. And I will not have preached in vain.

© Desiring God

Defending the Faith Part 2

Christ Putnam of logosapologia.com uploaded by LogosApologia

Some notes from Chris Putnam, from the video at bottom of post:

No matter how much someone believes this idea, this relativism, nobody lives this way, because what you do is you find something that is near and dear to them, like their wallet. And you say, „Well, what if your boss’s individual truth is that you only worked 20 hours this week, but, your truth was that you worked 40. How would you feel about that. Would those both be true? In India, relativism is very big, and Ravi Zacharias has a great one liner. He says, „Even in India, we look both ways before we cross the street. It’s either the bus or me. The idea is that if one thing is true, the opposite is false. This is the law of noncontradiction. It’s unforgiving, and it’s true in all cases. The idea is to find some real world examples when someone is giving you this relativism proposition. Such as: Would you like your surgeon to have his own individual absolute truth? I don’t think so. When you go to a doctor, you want someone that’s objective.

The Law on Non-Contradiction

street evangelismThis is the law that something cannot be both true and untrue, at the same time, and when dealing in the same context. In the law of non-contradiction, we have a set of statements about a subject, we cannot have the same set that negate it, the truth of the statement in the same set. Some things are contradictions, some aren’t. Like in the Bible, one that skeptics try to bring up is the fact that Judas hung himself. And in another Gospel, it says Judas fell down and his bowels spilled out. This is not a case of contradiction because neither statement about Jesus contradicts the other. Because if it was gonna be that, it would be ‘Judas hung himself’- ‘Judas didn’t hang himself’. But, it doesn’t say that, it’s really not a contradiction. It has to be in the same category. You could easily think of a scenario where he hung himself, and then his bowels spilled out- and that’s not a contradiction. So, it’s important to see the distinction that they cannot both be true, at the same time, when dealing in the same context. So, context is part of the equation.

The suicide tactic (self refuting statements)

This takes advantage of the fact that unbelievers often commit intellectual suicide- that is they refute themselves. These views are what we call ‘necessarily false’. There’s no possible worlds where we can imagine this. It defeats itself, it commits suicide. Suppose someone would say to you, „You can’t know anything for sure.” „Are you sure about that?” Or, „You can never know the truth about religion.” „Well, how did you come to that truth about religion?” Some are pretty funny, like, „Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.” Or, „I used to believe in reincarnation, but, that was in a former life.” There is a website http://www.proofthatGodexists.org , go work on some of those questions and it’s a good one to send to some of your skeptic friends. So, the suicide tactic takes advantage of the fact that two contradictory statements cannot be true at the same time. How to recognize if a point of view commits suicide:

  1. Identify the basic premise
  2. Does the claim undermine itself?

Sometime it’s not immediately obvious. Consider this one, that comes up around election time. Say you have a non Christian liberal leaning friend who criticizes you by saying this, „God doesn’t take sides in politics”. You can use your Columbo tactic and ask, „What do you mean by that?” „Well, God doesn’t take sides.” Then you can ask him, „Well, how do you think God feels about that?” Again he says, „God doesn’t take sides.” And you say, „Okay, so if we were to ask God about this, he owuld agree with you, right?” He would say, „Yes”. „Oh, so God would be on your side?” Here is where it is internally contradictory. Sometimes it’s tricky like that, it’s hidden inside the statement, so you have to think about it for a while. Like we were saying yesterday (in part 1) you don’t have to answer right away, you can just say, „I wanna go home and think about it.”

Do you see the internal contradictions here?

  • It’s wrong to try to change other people’s religious beliefs. Well, what is a Christian person’s belief? We have the great commission, we believe in evangelizing people and reaching the lost, , so they’re trying to change our religious belief. So, if it’s wrong, why are you trying to change my belief? We have a contradiction here.
  • All religions are equally true and valid. This one is not self evident. But, if you think through: What do CHristians believe, and this is the part of how it works. You have to know what you believe, in order to defend it, and that’s the mind set I’m trying to get you in. I know you guys know these things, but, you’re just not used to thinking in this way. So, if all religions are true, then Christianity is true. But, the essential claim of Christianity is that all the other religions are not true, that they’re false. You violate the first commandment, „You shall have no other Gods before me”. So, if our religion is true, then they (the other religions) can’t be true. So, either Christianity is true and the others are false, or vice versa. Either way, all religions cannot be true.
  • You can only know what has been proven by science. This is the big one, that most atheists and skeptics will come out with. You have to ask: Does this claim meet its own standard of truth? Now, did they arrive at this statement through a scientific method? What kind of experiments did they do to know that you can only know what’s proven through science? None. It implies that the speaker knows something that wasn’t proven by science. It self destructs because they didn’t use the scientific method to come up with this truth. So, if only science can teach us what we know, this is something we know science didn’t teach us. So, it’s internally contradictory. I like science. I studied computer science my first time through. I took physics and chemistry, and I read some of the things the new atheists say, and you get the idea that they think that science has proven that miracles are not possible, and that science has debunked the claims of the Bible. This is called a category error in logic, in philosophy. Here’s a good illustration. Can you weigh a chicken with a yardstick. No, you can’t do that. The yard stick is made for measuring length. But, does that mean the chicken has no weight? No. What I’m getting at is that science, by design, measures physical properties in a natural world. By category, it doesn’t deal with anything supernatural. It excludes that before it even starts. So, how can it disprove something it cannot even try to measure. It’s really like trying to measure a chicken’s weight with a yard stick. It really doesn’t even have anything to say about it. (14:35)
  • There is no truth. First thing you wanna do is turn this into a question and ask, „Why should I believe that?” Is that a true claim? This is a post modern claim that denies that we can know real truth about anything. We can’t know truth, but we know this *the statement that there is no truth) to be true. It can’t work. Resolve of the debate: Objective truth exists and we can know it. It’s what corresponds to reality. It tells it like it is, it describes the actual state of affairs. Jesus actually gave a reason why He came into the world, in the Gospel of John. Our biblical postmodernist Pontius Pilate was confronting Jesus and he said, „So are you a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” John 18:37 So, this concept of truth is foundational to the Gospel. If you think about what a clever strategy of Satan’s, this idea of postmodernism is, because, more than denying that we need a Savior, or denying the existence of God, this just pulls the rug right from under everything. If there’s no truth, you can’t really believe in anything. That really undermines the Gospel in a big way. (16:35)

Francis Schaeffer – Taking the Roof Off

Atheists and unbelievers are living in a world with a logical fallacy with a false idea in their worldview. And our job is to find it. Point of fact: Man is made in the image of God. We must live in the world that God created. So, every person who is a non theist must live with some contradiction, because what he believes is not actually true. In a real sense, every man who denies God is living on borrowed capital. He enjoys living in a world that is full of morality, meaning, order, beauty. Yet, he denies the God who grants these things and makes them possible. Because of this, non Christians live this contradictory world which creates a point of tension between what they believe and what is actually true. Man has erected a subconscious self deception. As Francis Schaeffer puts it, it’s a roof  to protect him from considering the consequences of his beliefs. So, your goal is to expose and remove the roof, to expose the fraud and deprive him of that false sense of security.

Schaeffer„Every man has built a roof over his head to shield himself at the point of tension…The Christian lovingly, must remove the shelter and allow the truth of the external world and of what man is to beat upon him. When the roof if off, each man must stand naked and wounded before the truth of what is…He must come to know that his roof is a false protection from the storm of what is.” Francis Schaeffer, The God Who is There, in The Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1982), 1:140-41. So when you find the place where the point of tension exists, you exploit it gently, but directly. This is where a well place question, like the third one in the Columbo tactic can be very effective. Your goal is to cause him a little bit of pain, and push him off balance, but, it’s to direct him towards the truth.

The taking the roof off tactic:

  1. Adopt the other person’s point of view (for the sake of argument).
  2. Press their view to the logical and absurd consequence. In latin – Reductio ad absurdum – argument from absurdity.(19:10) Ask, if this were true, what would be the consequence of this view?
  3. Invite them to consider the implications of this view.

Now, one that’s really hot right now- consider homosexuality. The world would have us celebrate is acceptable and as a healthy expression of  sexuality. So, let’s take the roof off that belief, let’s reduce it to its basic premise that – homosexuality is a healthy expression of sexuality. Now, let’s follow that premise consistently. Suppose that everyone in the world was to adopt it. What were to occur if we did that? The human race would cease to exist within one lifetime. What does that tell us about the basic principle? It can’t be healthy if it kills the human race.

The Steamroller

Have you ever gotten into a discussion where  a person will not let you get in a word?  There is a tactical way to deal with that. What is the steamroller? It is people who overpower you with the force of their personality. They have strong opinions and big mouths. They mean to keep you off balance. They put you on the defensive by overwhelming you with facts, lots of noise. They come off fast and furious, keeping you from collecting your wits and getting a thoughtful answer. So, how do you deal with these people. The steamroller characteristic is that they are constantly interrupting you.

3 steps in dealing with a steamroller:

  1. Stop the interruption graciously, but firmly and negotiate an agreement. Now, you might just have to let them go for awhile. Don’t try to jump in and interrupt them. Many times, you can just hold up your hand and interrupt them. Say, „Hey, I wasn’t quite finished yet.” Or ask for a little more time, ” Hold on a minute, I need a little more time. You asked a good question and you deserve an answer. Are you interested in what I have to say? Can you wait?” If they are especially aggressive, calmly wait for an opening. Don’t try to talk over them, just let them have their run. And then, here’s the real crux on how to deal with a person like this. You negotiate an agreement with them and you have to be real specific. You ask them to give you something -patience, so you can give them something in return, the opportunity to respond to a question. One way you might respond is, „Is it okay for you, if I take a few moments to answer your question, before you ask another one? Then, I’ll give you a chance to ask another one, when I get done.” You’re negotiating some terms, is the idea I want you to get in mind. Or, you can say, „I know it’s a lot easier to ask hard questions, than to listen to hard answers. But, I need a moment to explain myself. Is that okay?” Or, „Let me answer your first challenge, when I’m done you can jump in again. Is that okay?” Or, „That’s a good question, that deserves a good answer. Let me try to give you one.” The idea is to ask them for their permission and come to an agreement.
  2. Shame them. We’re dealing with a steamroller personality, and the best thing is to show them they agreed to listen to your answer, yet they violated it again.
  3. Leave them. A lot of times this is not going to work, so that is when you leave them. When all fails, leave them. If they won’t let you answer, listen politely, let them have the last word and just walk away. Wisdom dictates that you’re not gonna waste your time with someone that’s gonna be a fool. And Jesus told us not to cast our pearls before swine. In Luke 9 he said, „And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town, shake the dust off your feet, as a testimony against them.” There’s a point where that becomes necessary.

But, here’s the little 3 step process, and a lot of times it works. Most people do have a sense of politeness, but, they just get excited. And, not every steam roller is a ‘pearls before swine’ situation. But, a lot of times, by the second time that you bring out the agreement that they violated, the shame factor does work.

The guy I learned these techniques from is Greg Koukl, and his website is Stand to Reason http://www.str.org He has a 3 hour radio show, in the afternoons, in the Los Angeles area, and he gets all kinds of calls with Bible questions, theology, apologetics, and he uses this all the time. The main idea in how to debate is to keep asking questions, and putting the other person on the defensive- because they are making the claims, and they need to prove them, and not shift the burden on  you.

Prepare for encounters

  1. street evangelizeKnow your Bible
  2. Study these tactics.
  3. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone. You will get better, and remember, we’re not trying to win arguments, we’re trying to win people.
  4. Don’t be discouraged by outward appearances. Don’t be afraid. You don’t always have to hit home runs. Ask them, „Let me think about it. Just give me your reasons for what you think… I mean, this is the first time I’ve heard this. I’d like to go home and think about it.”

Matthew 10:16 – Jesus said, „Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.” That tells us right there, that the ‘wise as serpents’ is a tactical approach. This is our great commission. This is what the Lord told us to do, to be ambassadors.So practice this, and think about the things you say to people, and how it went, and maybe write some of this down. If you have a friend (or a family member), that has a certain belief, go look up some things about them. If you have a hindu friend, they believe in some 30 million gods. Did you know that? But, you would have to be able to answer his questions (Chris gives an example of what to ask at the 37th minute). Hindus also believe in Karma. They believe that everything bad that happens to you in this life is the result of something you did in another life. But, they don’t believe in original sin, which is what we believe in. We don’t believe in karma, but, we believe in a sin nature. We believe that we inherited Adam’s sin, and that we’re all under a curse. The problem with karma is that, if you don’t have an original sin, then where did the first one start? The first evil act can’t be the result of karma, because there was no original sin. It is incoherent, because there is no way to start it (karma). If you look at what they believe, they have an endless cycle of time going back in history and it’s completely irrational.

What I was telling you earlier is that people who don’t believe always violate one of these laws of logic. Another law of logic that is foundational is called the law of causality. This is where the cosmological proof for the existence of God comes from. It says that everything that begins to exist, every effect has a cause. So, you can’t have an infinite regress. You can’t have an endless cycle. That’s irrational. So, if everything that begins to exist has a cause, and even all the atheistic sciences will tell you that they believe in a thing called the big bang. Well, the big bang needs a banger. You can’t deny causality. If something begins to exist, and the universe began to exist, even all physicists say this. And so, they come up with irrational explanations. They say it came to exist from nothing. If you read Stephen Hawking’s newest book, he basically tries to say that nothing isn’t really nothing. All the equations say there was nothing and then there was everything. Now, they wanna say: Nothing is really not nothing. It’s this mix of matter and anti-matter, and these particles reacted. But, wait a minute. Where did the matter in anti-matter come from? That’s not nothing. They always deny something. It’s either – you can’t deny causality, so they change the definition of nothing. There’s always something incoherent in there. Usually, you can discover it. (photo via www.michaelnoyes.com

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. This is a great apologetic. If you look at other world religions, especially at Islam, Islam believes that Allah has a big scale, where he weighs the evil and the good in men’s hearts. And, if your good is more than the evil, then you get to go to heaven. And, in all other world religions you are judged by your works. That can make sense, because as people, don’t we like to believe that we deserve what we are getting? We have human pride, and part of it is our sin nature, and some of it is legitimate, but, to me, I can’t see how men could have come up with this doctrine of grace. If the skeptics idea is true, that these guys sat around and wrote the New Testament, just made this up, why would they make up something like: By grace you have been saved. It doesn’t make sense that men made that up. I think it came from God. Because men like to earn it, they like to show off. They like to take pride and say, „Hey, I deserve to go to heaven.” You know what? I don’t. It’s only by the blood of Jesus that I’m getting there. Everyone that’s honest would admit that. But, does that make sense that anybody would make that up? I don’t think so. Just look at the Pharisees. That was the whole thing with Jesus and the Pharisees. So, I think grace is an authentication, because only God would come up with that. I don’t think we would be capable of it, we’re too obsessed with it, in our pride.

By the way, faith is not believing in something that you have no evidence for, faith is more like trust. We trust in Jesus Christ.

Chris Putnam – LogosApologia.org Chris also recommends:

  1. William Fay’s book – How to Share Jesus without fear. This is an evangelism type book. Fay gives a list of questions you could ask, to open dialogue with someone, such as: Do you have any spiritual beliefs? Or, Who is Jesus to you?
  2. Lee Strobel’s books and videos- The case for a Creator, The case for Christ, The case for Faith – it’s a great introduction to a lot of these topics.
  3. Josh McDowell is also another entry level resource
  4. Also, William Lane Craig, a philosopher, and one of the sharpest minds of Christianity right now. Look for his videos on Youtube. He debates a lot of atheists.
  5. Greg Koukl at Stand to Reason str.org
  6. Walter Martin – one of the early apologists, started in the 70’s, debated on Donahue a lot- website – http://www.waltermartin.com He debated atheist, wiccan witches, he has some materials on Youtube videos. His daughter, CIndy Morgan, posts a lot of his work on a youtube channel of hers here- http://www.youtube.com/user/cindeemorgan

E. Passion Week – Wednesday Events and Judas Iscariot,the suicide of Satan and the Salvation of the World

(via) Justin Taylor from the Gospel Coalition

Holy Week: What Happened on Wednesday?

Jesus continues his daily teaching in the Temple

Luke 21:37-38

With Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread approaching, the chief priests, elders, and scribes plot to kill Jesus

Matthew 26:3-5 Mark 14:1-2 Luke 22:1-2

Satan enters Judas, who seeks out the Jewish authorities in order to betray Jesus for a price

Matthew 26:14-16 Mark 14:10-11 Luke 22:3-6

Luke 22:1-6

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. 2 And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people. 3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. 4 He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. 5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. 6 So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.

This is the final message in the series called Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ. The aim has been to show that over and over in the history of the world, the epoch-making sins that changed the course of history never nullified but only fulfilled the global purposes of God to glorify his Son and save his people.

My prayer is that, as these great historical vistas of God’s sovereignty over sin take their place in your renewed mind, they would have a profoundly practical effect in making you strong in the face of breath-stopping sorrows and making you bold for Christ in the face of dangerous opposition. Christ-exalting strength in calamity and Christ-exalting courage in conflict. I pray that the Lord will weave cords of steel and silk into the fabric of your soul.

History’s Most Spectacular Sin: The Murder of Jesus

The most spectacular sin that has ever been committed in the history of the world is the brutal murder of Jesus Christ, the morally perfect, infinitely worthy, divine Son of God. And probably the most despicable act in the process of this murder was the betrayal of Jesus by one of his closest friends, Judas Iscariot.

Judas was one of the twelve apostles that Jesus had personally chosen and who had been with Jesus during his entire public ministry. He had been entrusted with the moneybag for the whole group (John 13:29). He was close enough to Jesus at the Last Supper to be dipping bread with him in the same cup (Mark 14:20).

“Satan Entered into Judas”

On the night of the Last Supper, Luke tells us in Luke 22:3-6 that “Satan entered into Judas. . . . He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray [Jesus] to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.” Later he led the authorities to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and betrayed Jesus with a kiss (Luke 22:47-48). With that, Jesus’ death was sealed.

When Luke tells us in verse 3 that “Satan entered into Judas,” several questions come to our minds. 1) One is whether Satan simply mastered a good Judas or whether Judas was already walking in line with Satan and Satan simply decided that now is the time. 2) Another question is why Satan would do this since the death and resurrection of Jesus would result in Satan’s final defeat, and there is good reason to think Satan knew that. 3) And the third and most important question is: Where was God when this happened? What was his role or non-role in the most spectacular sin that ever was? So let’s take these questions one at a time.

1) Satan’s Power in Judas’ Sinful Passions

When it says in Luke 22:3 that “Satan entered into Judas,” how are we to think about the will of Judas and the power of Satan? Judas was not an innocent bystander when Satan entered into him. The apostle John tells us in John 12:6 that he was a thief. When Judas complained that Mary had wasted money in anointing Jesus, John comments, “He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.”

If that sounds incredible, just think of the scandalous behavior of so-called Christian leaders today who use ministry gifts to buy $39,000 worth of clothes at one store in a year, and send their kids on a $29,000 trip to the Bahamas, and drive a white Lexus and a red Mercedes. As Judas sat beside Jesus with his pious, religious face and went out and cast out demons in Jesus’ name, he was not a righteous lover of Jesus. He loved money. He loved the power and pleasures that money could by.

Paul tells us how that works together with Satan’s power. Listen to Ephesians 2:1-3: “You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air [notice the connection: dead in sins, following Satan], the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Dead in our sins, walking in the passions of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of body and mind, and therefore following the prince of the power of the air.

Satan does not take innocent people captive. There are no innocent people. Satan has power where sinful passions hold sway. Judas was a lover of money, and he covered it with a phony, external relationship with Jesus. And then he sold him for thirty pieces of silver. How many of his tribe are there still today! Don’t be one. And don’t be duped by one.

2) Satan’s Role in His Own Destruction

The second question is why Satan would lead Judas to betray Jesus. Doesn’t he know that the death and resurrection of Jesus would result in Satan’s final defeat (Colossians 2:13-15; Revelation 12:11)? There’s good reason to think Satan knew that.

When Jesus began his ministry on the way to the cross, Satan tried to turn him away from the path of suffering and sacrifice. In the wilderness, he tempted him to turn stones into bread and jump off the temple and get the rulership of the world by worshipping him (Matthew 4:1-11). The point of all these temptations is: Don’t walk the path of suffering and sacrifice and death. Use your power to escape suffering. If you’re the Son of God, show your right to reign. And I can help you do it. Whatever you do, don’t go to the cross.

Then do you remember the time when Jesus predicted he would suffer many things from the elders and the chief priests and be killed and Peter rebuked him and said, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you” (Matthew 16:22). In other words, I will never let you be killed like that. Jesus did not commend him. He said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Matthew 16:23). Hindering Jesus from going to the cross was the work of Satan. Satan did not want Jesus crucified. It would be his undoing.

But here he is in Luke 22:3 entering into Judas and leading him to betray the Lord and bring him to the cross. Why the about face? Why try to divert him from the cross and then take the initiative to bring him to the cross? We are not told. Here is my effort at an answer: Satan saw his efforts to divert Jesus from the cross failing. Time after time, Jesus kept the course. His face was set like flint to die, and Satan concludes that there is no stopping him. Therefore he resolves that if he can’t stop it, he will at least make it as ugly and painful and as heartbreaking as possible. Not just death, but death by betrayal. Death by abandonment. Death by denial (see Luke 22:31-32). If he could not stop it, he would drag others into it and do as much damage as he could. It was a spectacular sequence of sins that brought Jesus to the cross.

3) God’s Role in the Murder of His Son

Which brings us now to the third and final question—the most important one: Where was God when this happened? Or more precisely: What was God’s role or non-role in the most spectacular sin that ever happened—the murder of Jesus Christ?

To answer a question like that we should put our hands on our mouths and silence our philosophical speculations. Our opinions don’t count here. All that counts is what God himself as shown us in his word. And the first thing he shows us is that the details surrounding the death of Jesus are prophesied in God’s word hundreds of years before they happen.

The Scriptures prophesy that evil men will reject Jesus when he comes.

Matthew 21:42: “Jesus said to them (quoting Psalm 118:22), ‘Have you never read in the Scriptures: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes”?’”

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus must be hated.

In John 15:25, Jesus quoted Psalm 35:19 and said, “The word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’”

The Scriptures prophesy that the disciples would abandon Jesus.

In Matthew 26:31, he quotes Zechariah 13:7: “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’”

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus will be pierced but none of his bones will be broken.

John quotes Psalm 34:20 and Zechariah 12:10 and says, “One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear. . . . For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken.’ And again another Scripture says, ‘They will look on him whom they have pierced’” (John 19:34-37).

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus would be betrayed by a close friend for thirty pieces of silver.

In John 13:18, Jesus cites Psalm 41:9 and says, “I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’”

And in Matthew 26:24, Jesus says, “The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!”

And in Matthew 27:9-10, it says, “Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me’” (Jeremiah 19:1-13; Zechariah 11:12-13).

And not only the Scriptures, but Jesus himself prophesies, down to the details, how he will be killed.

In Mark 10:33-34, he says, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”

And on that last night, Jesus looked at Peter and said, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times” (Matthew 26:34).

According to His Sovereign Will

From all these prophesies, we know that God foresaw, and did not prevent, and therefore included in his plan that his Son would be rejected, hated, abandoned, betrayed, denied, condemned, spit upon, flogged, mocked, pierced, and killed. All these are explicitly in God’s mind before they happen as things that he plans will happen to Jesus. These things did not just happen. They were foretold in God’s word. God knew they would happen and could have planned to stop them, but didn’t. So they happened according to his sovereign will.

And all of them were evil. They were sin. It is sin to reject, hate, abandon, betray, deny, condemn, spit upon, flog, mock, pierce, and kill the morally perfect, infinitely worthy, divine Son of God. And yet the Bible is explicit and clear that God himself planned these things. It is explicit not only in all the prophetic texts we have seen, but also in passages that say even more plainly that God brought these things to pass.

God Brought It to Pass

For example, in Isaiah 53:6 and 10, it says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. . . . It was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief.” So behind the spitting and flogging and mocking and piercing is the invisible hand and plan of God.

And I say that carefully and with trembling. This truth is too big and too weighty and too shocking to be glib about or to be cocky about. I choose to say that the invisible hand and plan of God are behind these most spectacular sins in all the universe—more grievous and more spectacular than the fall of Satan or any others. The reason I use these very words is because the Bible says it in those very words.

The Hand and Plan of God

In Acts 4:27-28, we have the clearest, most explicit statement about God’s hand and plan behind the horrific crucifixion of his Son. “Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand (cheir) and your plan (boule) had predestined to take place.” Those are the two words I am using: the hand of God and the plan of God.

It is a strange way of speaking—to say that God’s hand and plan have predestined something to happen. One does not ordinarily think of God’s “hand” predestining. How does a hand predestine? Here’s what I think it means: The hand of God ordinarily stands for God’s exerted power—not power in the abstract, but earthly, effective exertions of power. The point of combining it with “plan” is to say that it is not just a theoretical plan; it is plan that will be executed by God’s own hand.

This explains Isaiah 53:10: “It was the will of the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief.” Or more literally, with the King James Version, “It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.” The Lord bruised him. Behind Herod and Pilate and the Gentiles and the people of Israel was Jesus’ own Father who loved him with an infinite love.

The Gospel: God At Work in Death

Why should this matter to you? It should matter because if God were not the main Actor in the death of Christ, then the death of Christ could not save us from our sins and we would perish in hell forever. The reason the death of Christ is the heart of gospel—the heart of the good news—is God was doing it. Romans 5:8: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” If you break God’s activity from the death of Jesus, you lose the gospel. This was God’s doing. It is the highest and deepest point of his love for sinners. His love for you.

Romans 8:3: “Sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.” God condemned sin in Jesus’ flesh with our condemnation. So we are free.

Galatians 3:13: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” God cursed Jesus with the curse that belonged on us. So we are free.

2 Corinthians 5:21: “For our sake [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” God imputed our sin to him, and now we go free in God’s righteousness.

Isaiah 53:5: “He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities.” God wounded him. God crushed him. For you and me. And we go free.

The Cross of Christ: The Work and Love of God

The reason why this series of messages matters is this. If you embrace the biblical truth (and I pray you will) that God ordains spectacular sins for the global glory of his Son, without in anyway becoming unholy or unrighteous or sinful in that act, then you will not shrink back from the cross of Christ as a work of God. You will not be among the number of those who call the most loving act that ever was “divine child abuse.” You will come to the cross and fall on your face. And you will say: This is no mere human conspiracy. This is the work of God and the love of God. You will it receive as his highest gift. And you will be saved. And Christ will be glorified. And I will not have preached in vain.

© Desiring God

Psalm 69 – Doug Wilson

Doug Wilson’s sermon from Psalm 69 – among other points, it includes an analysis of why Judas betrayed Jesus and commentary on Jesus as ‘hell fire preacher’. Read more of my notes from Doug Wilson’s sermon below this video (international readers you can use google translater widget at the top right of the page). However, the best way is to watch the video for the entire message. Here’s a brief  excerpt from Wilson’s conclusion:

External religion – Sinners like to put on a show for God

External religion- how you set up the chairs, how you preach, how you do the liturgy, the music, all the things that we do out here, all those things are things that we can do better or worse. We can do them and we can feel that we have some sort of control in them. And, if we’re in better control of those things than that church down the road- if our doctrine is sounder, if our liturgy (our scripture reading) is more beautiful, if our music is more stupendous, we can feel like we’ve got something with handles that we can take pride in. And a certain kind of heart, an unconverted heart, a carnal heart latches on to those externals. Which is why the Bible tells us over and over and over again that God looks on the heart.

Now Jesus, when He talked about the pharisees who washed the outside of the cup- Jesus said, ‘Wash the inside of the cup’. If you wash the inside of a cup in such a way, the outside’s gonna get clean.

So why does God say, ‘I prefer this more than that?’ Because sinners would much rather have that than this. Sinners like to divide it and sinners like to pick the external. Sinners like to put on a show for God. We like to pretend that the doctrine of omniscience is not true. We like to pretend that God sees our outsides- God sees us singing, God sees us going through an open hymnal, God sees us with an open Bible, and, it makes us uncomfortable to know that God sees us with an open heart.

So, why? Because there is a natural predisposition on the part of sinful man to be religious.

Sermon: What Makes the Humble Glad | Psalm 69 (Douglas Wilson) from Canon Wired on Vimeo.

Some (of my) notes from sermon:

  • The wisdom of God found in Scripture is not just offensive to the carnal heart here and there, it is offensive to the carnal heart across the board and we’re gonna see a number of instances of this truth, this reality in this Psalm (Psalm 69)
  1. The first section of the Psalm is verses 1-4 and the psalmist is laying out his complaint for the Lord. He’s in trouble, he’s telling the Lord he’s in trouble, he’s telling the Lord he is sunk down in the mire; he needs deliverance. His enemies are numerous; this is a particular kind of affliction. We live in a fallen world, this applies to all sorts of affliction. But, this particular affliction the psalmist is going through is brought about by enemies, by adversaries, brought about by those who despise him.
  2. Verses 5-12: The thing that got him into trouble in the first place was the zeal that he had for the house of God. All of it is for God’s sake. We see in verse 5 that he is a sinner, in v. 5, we know he is not perfect. But the reason for the pushback is his righteousness, not his sinfulness.
  3. In the third section the psalmist is pleading for help, in verses 13-21 he is beseeching God for help. Reproach is what has broken his heart, it is the people coming after him and some of the people coming after him knew better, (they) understood that what they were saying was false.
  4. In the next section he calls for justice to be meted out against his adversaries, verses 22-28 he’s calling out for justice. The wrath of God is real in both testaments (vv. 24-25).
  5. In the last section in the psalm, he returns to his petitions and he anticipates, by faith, a positive response (v. 33). The Lord prefers true heart thanksgiving to external rituals.

This psalm has a number of anchor points. We need to pay close attention as to how the New Testament quotes the Old Testament.  What was Jesus’s favorite book? You could argue that Jesus’s favorite book was Deuteronomy. Why isn’t it our favorite book? We should let Jesus and the apostles point us to what we should be learning from and resorting to. The favorite books of the New Testament writers and Jesus were

  • Genesis
  • Isaiah
  • Psalms
  • Deuteronomy

This Psalm (69) has at least 4 quotations in the New Testament- and we learn quite a bit about this Psalm from the NT.

  1. We learn this Psalm is Messianic. It is about the Messiah. I would like to argue on another level that all the Psalms are about the Messiah, but some, explicitly so. At the same time, David’s life is a type. David’s life is a lived out prophecy and Jesus is the son of David. The difference between them is Jesus is sinless and His father David is not. So David is a type of the antitype who is Jesus, but you have to factor out certain things. One of the things you have to factor out is the sin. So, David is a fallen sinner. David stumbles, Jesus never does. At the same time there are a number of things that are true of both the type and the antitype. So, not every detail in the psalm is fulfilled in the life of the Messiah, but, much of it is. Jesus quotes verse 4 ‘They that hate Me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head‘. He expressly applies this psalm to Himself in John 15:25The same phrase is found in Psalm 35:19 If God knows the number of hairs on your head, and the enemies are the same as the hairs on your head, then God knows the number of your enemies.
  2. The first part of verse 9 is quoted as something that the disciples recalled after Jesus cleansed the temple. In the Gospel of John 2:17 the disciples remembered after Jesus cleansed the temple, „Zeal for your house is consuming”. The reason Jesus cleansed the temple is because Psalm 69 gave this pattern: Zeal for God’s house consumed Christ and so he cleansed the temple.
  3. The second half of verse 9 is quoted by Paul in Romans 15:3 and he applies it in another way to Christ. It says, ‘For even Christ pleased not Himself, but, as it is written- the reproaches of them that reproach thee fell on me’. That is referring to Jesus. What happened to David in a type, happened to Jesus in total fulfillment.
  4. The last 2 quotations – one is where David starts cursing his enemies. But, he is not cursing in his own authority. The difference between an autonomous, sinful curing is when you set your self up in your own name, to curse other people. You don’t have the authority to do that. When you relegate it, turn it over to God and ask God to do this, you’re inviting God’s judgement and it entails you in the judgement as well. If you’re asking God to do this unjustly, then God is not going to fulfill that curse and He’s going to chastise you instead. So, when Paul says in Galatians, „‘f we, or another angel from heaven preaches another Gospel, let him be accursed’, he’s committing it to God. This is a christian way of cursing. So, Paul, in Romans is talking about Israel having been closed off in unbelief. And he applies vv 22-23 to the judicial blindness and unbelief that had afflicted the Jewish nation at that time. And since that time, as Paul teaches, also in Romans 11, which affliction, which judicial blindness will one day be removed. But, in romans 11:9-10 we see that this judicial blindness is visited upon the Jews. We should note: The illusion in vinegar given as a drink, in verse 21, and we find in verse 25 cited in Acts 1:20, when Peter was explaining the fate of Judas. This would seem to entail Judas in the same kind of judicial blindness that had overtaken the jewish nation as a whole. So, in the earlier verses, the whole jewish nation was blinded as to the identity of the Messiah, or how the messiah was going to work.

Judicial blindness and Judas

And, it appears that Judas was caught up in that same kind of problem. Judas was not the universal sneak. He was not a character that was contextless. He was not a man without a nation. He was not a man without a background. He was not a man without political opinions. He was not a man without agendas. He wasn’t just a villain dropped into a story so that we might have someone to betray Jesus. Judas betrayed Jesus for a reason. Now, we don’t have this laid out explicitly, so we shouldn’t call it anything more than educated speculation. But, Judas realized these things we know from the Bible. Judas had seen the power of Jesus. He, Judas himself had cast out demons. When Jesus sends the disciples out, they all do what Jesus had commissioned them to do. Judas himself has cast out demons and it’s interesting that later Satan himself enters Judas. Judas had healed the sick himself. He saw Jesus walk on water, he saw Jesus feed the multitudes, he saw Lazarus come out of the grave. Judas knew Jesus was powerful. Judas knew that Jesus was blessed by God, the spirit of God was on Him. Jesus did remarkable things and Judas had front row seats. Combine all this with the fact that Judas knew Jesus was not going to fight the Romans, He was going to go to the cross. As soon as Judas sees that Jesus was condemned, he returns the money; he throws the money down and goes and hangs himself.

Now, why hang yourself if Judas’s intent was to betray Jesus and ‘let’s see Him get what’s coming to Him?’ If that was his (Judas’s) motive, why hang himself when the plot succeeded? Something else is going on. What was his motivation? I believe the only narrative that makes sense with the background of Psalm 69 is that Judas was trying to force Jesus’s hand. He was trying to make Jesus exercise His power in a particular way that would expel the Romans. He was trying to force Him, paint Him into a corner so that Jesus would have to do what He inexplicably wasn’t doing. Jesus has all this power. The Romans, the tyrants are here. We’re under this judgment. This evil pagans are here and Jesus can raise the dead, Jesus can walk on water for crying out loud, why isn’t He doing something about the Romans. Anybody, with any kind of sense would see that you have to do something about the Romans.

Now, part of the reason Judas was judicially blinded is not just the reason that he shared the assumptions that the jews of his era had about the Messiah. This was a common cultural assumption: When the Messiah comes He will expel the Romans. Jesus is clearly the Messiah, Judas knew and so He needs to expel the Romans, that’s what He has to do. And He’s not doing it, so let’s give Him a little encouragement, let’s put Him into a corner where He will surely reveal His power, He will surely rise up. But then, the Messiah is like a sheep that goes silently to the slaughter and Judas doesn’t get it. It’s inexplicable.

Personal motives- This is not just external cultural blindness that the whole jewish nation had. We also learn in John 12:6 that Judas was covetous- which also links to- if Jesus expels the Romans and we have a new Israel, I’m probably going to get a choice cabinet spot, I’m probably gonna be the secretary of the treasury and it’s not gonna be this little purse I’m carrying around with this itinerary preacher, but I’m gonna be in an important place , then I can really take advantage of that. John 12 tells us that Judas used to help himself to the money that was in the account of the disciples, Jesus and His band. So, we have personal motives for thinking the way he did.

Jesus as hell fire preacher 

There’s a glib assumption among many christians on this- yet, the curses of the OT are not eradicated with the NT. They are not erased by the Gospel, they are fulfilled in the arrival of the Gospel. Away with the notion that the OT God had problems and somewhere between Maleachi and Matthew He’s not angry anymore. No, these implications are fulfilled in the NT. Not only so, but, they are fulfilled in terrible ways. Damnation is a horrible reality and the hell fire damnation preacher of the entire Bible is the Lord Jesus. If you go from beginning to end (of the Bible) the hell fire preacher is the Lord Jesus. People like to think that Jesus was the original flower child preaching a simple message of love and peace and then He ran afoul of the authorities, because that’s what preaching peace and love will get you. And then, the apostle Paul comes along with his message of condemnation and all his severities and he somehow wrecks the pristine christianity. The problem with that is the apostle Paul never mentions hell once by name, in all of his letters. Jesus talks about it regularly. Jesus is the ‘hell fire, damnation’ preacher. People like to pretend that the God off the Old Testament was basically a God of wrath and the God of the New Testament is a God of love.

Where do we get this idea that flies in the face of the data? We get this idea because it’s flattering to us. We don’t like the idea of a final judgment, we don’t like the idea of God coming down and looking at our lives and being the kind of God who knows the hairs on our head and as it says in Psalms: If God were to mark iniquities, who could stand? So, if God is going to hold us in judgment  and is going to be severe, we NEED a SAVIOR! Well, mysteriously, wonderfully, there is a Savior presented, but we can’t avail ourselves of that Savior until we know the problem. We’re not gonna take the medication until we know that we’re sick and we’re not able to apply the solution until we understand the problem.

David resolves to give thanks to God with a Psalm

He calls down curses from God, he asks God to judge and then he gives thanks to God with a song (v 30). He then makes a comparison which lies at the heart of all evangelical religion. This is something the Bible does over and over and over again and does it for a reason. „I desire mercy and not sacrifices”, it says in Hosea. „To obey is better than sacrifice”, Samuel tells Saul. „Sacrifices and burnt offerings You do no require, but a humble and contrite heart”, we learn elsewhere in the Psalms. We have the same comparison here. David sets a thankful heart over against the external ritual ‘conformity’ to the sacrificial laws of God (v. 31). In v. 30- „I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs. When the humble see it they will be glad.”

What makes humble hearts glad

This reality makes humble hearts glad. What makes humble hearts glad? To see heart religion preferred over externals. The sacrifices he’s talking about were  required by God. But God gives us the whole book (Bible), He gives us the whole world view and he expects us to respond to Him in faith and when our hearts are humble, we see that God prefers  heart religion to external religion.

Why is this contrast set up at all? Why does the Bible do this repeatedly? The reason is that there’s a kind of person out there who latches on o the external requirements that God gives us and he manipulates those externals in a way that is conducive to their pride. When something comes along that topples that pride, that is what makes humility rejoice.

External religion – Sinners like to put on a show for God

External religion- how you set up the chairs, how you preach, how you do the liturgy, the music, all the things that we do out here, all those things are things that we can do better or worse. We can do them and we can feel that we have some sort of control in them. And, if we’re in better control of those things than that church down the road- if our doctrine is sounder, if our liturgy (our scripture reading) is more beautiful, if our music is more stupendous, we can feel like we’ve got something with handles that we can take pride in. And a certain kind of heart, an unconverted heart, a carnal heart latches on to those externals. Which is why the Bible tells us over and over and over again that God looks on the heart.

Now Jesus, when He talked about the pharisees who washed the outside of the cup- Jesus said, ‘Wash the inside of the cup’. If you wash the inside of a cup in such a way, the outside’s gonna get clean.

So why does God say, ‘I prefer this more than that?’ Because sinners would much rather have that than this. Sinners like to divide it and sinners like to pick the external. Sinners like to put on a show for God. We like to pretend that the doctrine of omniscience is not true. We like to pretend that God sees our outsides- God sees us singing, God sees us going through an open hymnal, God sees us with an open Bible, and, it makes us uncomfortable to know that God sees us with an open heart.

So, why? Because there is a natural predisposition on the part of sinful man to be religious. Unconverted men love religion. You do not have a system where you’ve got christians over here and a bunch of atheists out there. Atheism is not usually the way men go. Men are religious. There’s true religion and false religion. And, even atheism veers into externals. They try to have some sort of ethical system. They try to have religiosity of some sort, even with an overt denial of God. But, most men don’t do that, they’re just very, very religious.

External religion is a sin. And when God works among men and when he establishes His true religion, our temptation is to go out to the pagans, get their attitude towards externals and import it to the church. We must have an external embodiment. We’re external, not just bodies and souls. We come here to a place and we sing and we hear, and we do things. We have to have an external manifestation of our faith. But, we must be constantly reminded that God prefers this to that, because untended we prefer that to this.

But, we can’t do it unless God provides something, unless God’s at work. And, this is why we must remember: Christ is not powerful to save you if you repent or if you do something. Christ is powerful to give you repentance. Christ is the one who does it. God gives repentance, God gives faith. When God moves… you see the beauty of the Christian faith. You see the beauty of the one true religion: God saves sinners. Which is very, very different than sinners preparing themselves to be saved. When the initiative lies with us: God will do this if you prepare your heart, or if you go through these motions. The sentence begins: …but God intervenes… but God sent His Son… but God gave repentance… If God gives Jesus to die on the cross, to be buried and come back from the dead so that you can be put right and He’s the one that put you right, using that means, that’s good news. But God, is good news. But I, is bad news. But I, is false Gospel.

Passion Week (E) Wednesday Events and Judas Iscariot,the suicide of Satan and the Salvation of the World

(via) Justin Taylor from the Gospel Coalition

Holy Week: What Happened on Wednesday?

Jesus continues his daily teaching in the Temple

Luke 21:37-38

With Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread approaching, the chief priests, elders, and scribes plot to kill Jesus

Matthew 26:3-5 Mark 14:1-2 Luke 22:1-2

Satan enters Judas, who seeks out the Jewish authorities in order to betray Jesus for a price

Matthew 26:14-16 Mark 14:10-11 Luke 22:3-6

Luke 22:1-6

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. 2 And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people. 3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. 4 He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. 5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. 6 So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.

This is the final message in the series called Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ. The aim has been to show that over and over in the history of the world, the epoch-making sins that changed the course of history never nullified but only fulfilled the global purposes of God to glorify his Son and save his people.

My prayer is that, as these great historical vistas of God’s sovereignty over sin take their place in your renewed mind, they would have a profoundly practical effect in making you strong in the face of breath-stopping sorrows and making you bold for Christ in the face of dangerous opposition. Christ-exalting strength in calamity and Christ-exalting courage in conflict. I pray that the Lord will weave cords of steel and silk into the fabric of your soul.

History’s Most Spectacular Sin: The Murder of Jesus

The most spectacular sin that has ever been committed in the history of the world is the brutal murder of Jesus Christ, the morally perfect, infinitely worthy, divine Son of God. And probably the most despicable act in the process of this murder was the betrayal of Jesus by one of his closest friends, Judas Iscariot.

Judas was one of the twelve apostles that Jesus had personally chosen and who had been with Jesus during his entire public ministry. He had been entrusted with the moneybag for the whole group (John 13:29). He was close enough to Jesus at the Last Supper to be dipping bread with him in the same cup (Mark 14:20).

“Satan Entered into Judas”

On the night of the Last Supper, Luke tells us in Luke 22:3-6 that “Satan entered into Judas. . . . He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray [Jesus] to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.” Later he led the authorities to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and betrayed Jesus with a kiss (Luke 22:47-48). With that, Jesus’ death was sealed.

When Luke tells us in verse 3 that “Satan entered into Judas,” several questions come to our minds. 1) One is whether Satan simply mastered a good Judas or whether Judas was already walking in line with Satan and Satan simply decided that now is the time. 2) Another question is why Satan would do this since the death and resurrection of Jesus would result in Satan’s final defeat, and there is good reason to think Satan knew that. 3) And the third and most important question is: Where was God when this happened? What was his role or non-role in the most spectacular sin that ever was? So let’s take these questions one at a time.

1) Satan’s Power in Judas’ Sinful Passions

When it says in Luke 22:3 that “Satan entered into Judas,” how are we to think about the will of Judas and the power of Satan? Judas was not an innocent bystander when Satan entered into him. The apostle John tells us in John 12:6 that he was a thief. When Judas complained that Mary had wasted money in anointing Jesus, John comments, “He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.”

If that sounds incredible, just think of the scandalous behavior of so-called Christian leaders today who use ministry gifts to buy $39,000 worth of clothes at one store in a year, and send their kids on a $29,000 trip to the Bahamas, and drive a white Lexus and a red Mercedes. As Judas sat beside Jesus with his pious, religious face and went out and cast out demons in Jesus’ name, he was not a righteous lover of Jesus. He loved money. He loved the power and pleasures that money could by.

Paul tells us how that works together with Satan’s power. Listen to Ephesians 2:1-3: “You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air [notice the connection: dead in sins, following Satan], the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Dead in our sins, walking in the passions of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of body and mind, and therefore following the prince of the power of the air.

Satan does not take innocent people captive. There are no innocent people. Satan has power where sinful passions hold sway. Judas was a lover of money, and he covered it with a phony, external relationship with Jesus. And then he sold him for thirty pieces of silver. How many of his tribe are there still today! Don’t be one. And don’t be duped by one.

2) Satan’s Role in His Own Destruction

The second question is why Satan would lead Judas to betray Jesus. Doesn’t he know that the death and resurrection of Jesus would result in Satan’s final defeat (Colossians 2:13-15; Revelation 12:11)? There’s good reason to think Satan knew that.

When Jesus began his ministry on the way to the cross, Satan tried to turn him away from the path of suffering and sacrifice. In the wilderness, he tempted him to turn stones into bread and jump off the temple and get the rulership of the world by worshipping him (Matthew 4:1-11). The point of all these temptations is: Don’t walk the path of suffering and sacrifice and death. Use your power to escape suffering. If you’re the Son of God, show your right to reign. And I can help you do it. Whatever you do, don’t go to the cross.

Then do you remember the time when Jesus predicted he would suffer many things from the elders and the chief priests and be killed and Peter rebuked him and said, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you” (Matthew 16:22). In other words, I will never let you be killed like that. Jesus did not commend him. He said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Matthew 16:23). Hindering Jesus from going to the cross was the work of Satan. Satan did not want Jesus crucified. It would be his undoing.

But here he is in Luke 22:3 entering into Judas and leading him to betray the Lord and bring him to the cross. Why the about face? Why try to divert him from the cross and then take the initiative to bring him to the cross? We are not told. Here is my effort at an answer: Satan saw his efforts to divert Jesus from the cross failing. Time after time, Jesus kept the course. His face was set like flint to die, and Satan concludes that there is no stopping him. Therefore he resolves that if he can’t stop it, he will at least make it as ugly and painful and as heartbreaking as possible. Not just death, but death by betrayal. Death by abandonment. Death by denial (see Luke 22:31-32). If he could not stop it, he would drag others into it and do as much damage as he could. It was a spectacular sequence of sins that brought Jesus to the cross.

3) God’s Role in the Murder of His Son

Which brings us now to the third and final question—the most important one: Where was God when this happened? Or more precisely: What was God’s role or non-role in the most spectacular sin that ever happened—the murder of Jesus Christ?

To answer a question like that we should put our hands on our mouths and silence our philosophical speculations. Our opinions don’t count here. All that counts is what God himself as shown us in his word. And the first thing he shows us is that the details surrounding the death of Jesus are prophesied in God’s word hundreds of years before they happen.

The Scriptures prophesy that evil men will reject Jesus when he comes.

Matthew 21:42: “Jesus said to them (quoting Psalm 118:22), ‘Have you never read in the Scriptures: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes”?’”

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus must be hated.

In John 15:25, Jesus quoted Psalm 35:19 and said, “The word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’”

The Scriptures prophesy that the disciples would abandon Jesus.

In Matthew 26:31, he quotes Zechariah 13:7: “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’”

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus will be pierced but none of his bones will be broken.

John quotes Psalm 34:20 and Zechariah 12:10 and says, “One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear. . . . For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken.’ And again another Scripture says, ‘They will look on him whom they have pierced’” (John 19:34-37).

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus would be betrayed by a close friend for thirty pieces of silver.

In John 13:18, Jesus cites Psalm 41:9 and says, “I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’”

And in Matthew 26:24, Jesus says, “The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!”

And in Matthew 27:9-10, it says, “Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me’” (Jeremiah 19:1-13; Zechariah 11:12-13).

And not only the Scriptures, but Jesus himself prophesies, down to the details, how he will be killed.

In Mark 10:33-34, he says, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”

And on that last night, Jesus looked at Peter and said, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times” (Matthew 26:34).

According to His Sovereign Will

From all these prophesies, we know that God foresaw, and did not prevent, and therefore included in his plan that his Son would be rejected, hated, abandoned, betrayed, denied, condemned, spit upon, flogged, mocked, pierced, and killed. All these are explicitly in God’s mind before they happen as things that he plans will happen to Jesus. These things did not just happen. They were foretold in God’s word. God knew they would happen and could have planned to stop them, but didn’t. So they happened according to his sovereign will.

And all of them were evil. They were sin. It is sin to reject, hate, abandon, betray, deny, condemn, spit upon, flog, mock, pierce, and kill the morally perfect, infinitely worthy, divine Son of God. And yet the Bible is explicit and clear that God himself planned these things. It is explicit not only in all the prophetic texts we have seen, but also in passages that say even more plainly that God brought these things to pass.

God Brought It to Pass

For example, in Isaiah 53:6 and 10, it says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. . . . It was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief.” So behind the spitting and flogging and mocking and piercing is the invisible hand and plan of God.

And I say that carefully and with trembling. This truth is too big and too weighty and too shocking to be glib about or to be cocky about. I choose to say that the invisible hand and plan of God are behind these most spectacular sins in all the universe—more grievous and more spectacular than the fall of Satan or any others. The reason I use these very words is because the Bible says it in those very words.

The Hand and Plan of God

In Acts 4:27-28, we have the clearest, most explicit statement about God’s hand and plan behind the horrific crucifixion of his Son. “Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand (cheir) and your plan (boule) had predestined to take place.” Those are the two words I am using: the hand of God and the plan of God.

It is a strange way of speaking—to say that God’s hand and plan have predestined something to happen. One does not ordinarily think of God’s “hand” predestining. How does a hand predestine? Here’s what I think it means: The hand of God ordinarily stands for God’s exerted power—not power in the abstract, but earthly, effective exertions of power. The point of combining it with “plan” is to say that it is not just a theoretical plan; it is plan that will be executed by God’s own hand.

This explains Isaiah 53:10: “It was the will of the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief.” Or more literally, with the King James Version, “It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.” The Lord bruised him. Behind Herod and Pilate and the Gentiles and the people of Israel was Jesus’ own Father who loved him with an infinite love.

The Gospel: God At Work in Death

Why should this matter to you? It should matter because if God were not the main Actor in the death of Christ, then the death of Christ could not save us from our sins and we would perish in hell forever. The reason the death of Christ is the heart of gospel—the heart of the good news—is God was doing it. Romans 5:8: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” If you break God’s activity from the death of Jesus, you lose the gospel. This was God’s doing. It is the highest and deepest point of his love for sinners. His love for you.

Romans 8:3: “Sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.” God condemned sin in Jesus’ flesh with our condemnation. So we are free.

Galatians 3:13: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” God cursed Jesus with the curse that belonged on us. So we are free.

2 Corinthians 5:21: “For our sake [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” God imputed our sin to him, and now we go free in God’s righteousness.

Isaiah 53:5: “He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities.” God wounded him. God crushed him. For you and me. And we go free.

The Cross of Christ: The Work and Love of God

The reason why this series of messages matters is this. If you embrace the biblical truth (and I pray you will) that God ordains spectacular sins for the global glory of his Son, without in anyway becoming unholy or unrighteous or sinful in that act, then you will not shrink back from the cross of Christ as a work of God. You will not be among the number of those who call the most loving act that ever was “divine child abuse.” You will come to the cross and fall on your face. And you will say: This is no mere human conspiracy. This is the work of God and the love of God. You will it receive as his highest gift. And you will be saved. And Christ will be glorified. And I will not have preached in vain.

© Desiring God

The Attack on Jesus

We have in society today, a generation that desperately does not want to believe in the historical Jesus. Coral Ridge Ministries presents- The Attack on Jesus-an intriguing look at some false claims about Jesus that threatens to keep millions from finding out the truth. Christians need to be aware of the public discussions about Jesus. Anything that points people away from Jesus Christ contributes to people some day being eternally separated from God. From time to time these unfounded accusations are recycled, as is the case with author Dan Brown. Here are the issues (some of these major assaults on Jesus) addressed in this video:

  1. The reliability of the Gospels
  2. The New Testament Canon
  3. The Resurrection of Jesus
  4. Jesus’ diety
  5. and the question – Was Jesus married?
  6. Is Jesus the only way to God?

Videourile Vodpod nu mai sunt disponibile.

The Attack on Jesus , posted with vodpod

Jon Bloom – Jesus wants you to waste your life…

via desiringGod.org – Read more posts from Jon Bloom here.

Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair (John 12:3).

Judas simply could not fathom Mary’s ridiculous decision.

During dinner she had just dumped all that rare perfume on Jesus’ feet! Almost a year’s wages now puddled on the dirty floor. Completely wasted!

“Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?”

How noble. But Judas wasn’t concerned for the poor. “He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief and being in charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it” (John 12:6). Judas was concerned for Judas.

Both Mary and Judas had hedonistic motives. Neither was driven by stoic duty. Both pursued the treasure they believed would make them happy. To Mary, Jesus was the priceless Pearl (Matthew 13:45). She wanted that Pearl more than anything. To Judas, thirty pieces of silver was a fair price for the Pearl.

Judas’s sin wasn’t that he wanted happiness. His sin was believing that having money would make him happier than having Christ.

O Judas, the tragedy of your value miscalculation! The Pearl worth more than the entire universe sat in front of you and all you could see were perfume puddles. You grieved a year’s wages while squandering infinite, eternal treasure!

Jesus leads all his disciples to watershed moments like Mary’s and Judas’. They are designed to make us count this cost: “Whoever loves his life loses it. And whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25). These moments force us choose what we really believe is gain. And the choices we make reveal whether we value the Pearl or puddles.

If we choose the Pearl, we hear in Judas the world’s appraisal of us. They watch as time, intellects, money, youth, financial futures, and vocations are poured out on Jesus’ feet. They watch them puddle on the floors of churches, mission fields, orphanages, and homes where children are raised and careers are lost. And what they see is foolish waste. Do not expect their respect.

Jesus wants you to waste your life like Mary wasted her perfume. For it is no true waste. It is true worship. A poured out life of love for Jesus that counts worldly gain as loss displays how precious he really is. It preaches to a bewildered, disdainful world that Christ is gain and the real waste is gaining the world’s perfumes and losing one’s soul in the process (Matthew 16:26).

So, in what way are you wasting your life today?

 

Passion Week (E) Wednesday Events and John Piper-Judas Iscariot,the suicide of Satan and the Salvation of the World

(via) Justin Taylor from the Gospel Coalition

Holy Week: What Happened on Wednesday?

Jesus continues his daily teaching in the Temple

Luke 21:37-38

With Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread approaching, the chief priests, elders, and scribes plot to kill Jesus

Matthew 26:3-5   Mark 14:1-2   Luke 22:1-2

Satan enters Judas, who seeks out the Jewish authorities in order to betray Jesus for a price

Matthew 26:14-16   Mark 14:10-11  Luke 22:3-6

Videourile Vodpod nu mai sunt disponibile.

Judas Iscariot, the Suicide of Satan, and the S…, posted with vodpod

Luke 22:1-6

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. 2 And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people. 3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. 4 He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. 5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. 6 So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.

This is the final message in the series called Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ. The aim has been to show that over and over in the history of the world, the epoch-making sins that changed the course of history never nullified but only fulfilled the global purposes of God to glorify his Son and save his people.

My prayer is that, as these great historical vistas of God’s sovereignty over sin take their place in your renewed mind, they would have a profoundly practical effect in making you strong in the face of breath-stopping sorrows and making you bold for Christ in the face of dangerous opposition. Christ-exalting strength in calamity and Christ-exalting courage in conflict. I pray that the Lord will weave cords of steel and silk into the fabric of your soul.

History’s Most Spectacular Sin: The Murder of Jesus

The most spectacular sin that has ever been committed in the history of the world is the brutal murder of Jesus Christ, the morally perfect, infinitely worthy, divine Son of God. And probably the most despicable act in the process of this murder was the betrayal of Jesus by one of his closest friends, Judas Iscariot.

Judas was one of the twelve apostles that Jesus had personally chosen and who had been with Jesus during his entire public ministry. He had been entrusted with the moneybag for the whole group (John 13:29). He was close enough to Jesus at the Last Supper to be dipping bread with him in the same cup (Mark 14:20).

“Satan Entered into Judas”

On the night of the Last Supper, Luke tells us in Luke 22:3-6 that “Satan entered into Judas. . . . He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray [Jesus] to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.” Later he led the authorities to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and betrayed Jesus with a kiss (Luke 22:47-48). With that, Jesus’ death was sealed.

When Luke tells us in verse 3 that “Satan entered into Judas,” several questions come to our minds. 1) One is whether Satan simply mastered a good Judas or whether Judas was already walking in line with Satan and Satan simply decided that now is the time. 2) Another question is why Satan would do this since the death and resurrection of Jesus would result in Satan’s final defeat, and there is good reason to think Satan knew that. 3) And the third and most important question is: Where was God when this happened? What was his role or non-role in the most spectacular sin that ever was? So let’s take these questions one at a time.

1) Satan’s Power in Judas’ Sinful Passions

When it says in Luke 22:3 that “Satan entered into Judas,” how are we to think about the will of Judas and the power of Satan? Judas was not an innocent bystander when Satan entered into him. The apostle John tells us in John 12:6 that he was a thief. When Judas complained that Mary had wasted money in anointing Jesus, John comments, “He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.”

If that sounds incredible, just think of the scandalous behavior of so-called Christian leaders today who use ministry gifts to buy $39,000 worth of clothes at one store in a year, and send their kids on a $29,000 trip to the Bahamas, and drive a white Lexus and a red Mercedes. As Judas sat beside Jesus with his pious, religious face and went out and cast out demons in Jesus’ name, he was not a righteous lover of Jesus. He loved money. He loved the power and pleasures that money could by.

Paul tells us how that works together with Satan’s power. Listen to Ephesians 2:1-3: “You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air [notice the connection: dead in sins, following Satan], the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Dead in our sins, walking in the passions of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of body and mind, and therefore following the prince of the power of the air.

Satan does not take innocent people captive. There are no innocent people. Satan has power where sinful passions hold sway. Judas was a lover of money, and he covered it with a phony, external relationship with Jesus. And then he sold him for thirty pieces of silver. How many of his tribe are there still today! Don’t be one. And don’t be duped by one.

2) Satan’s Role in His Own Destruction

The second question is why Satan would lead Judas to betray Jesus. Doesn’t he know that the death and resurrection of Jesus would result in Satan’s final defeat (Colossians 2:13-15; Revelation 12:11)? There’s good reason to think Satan knew that.

When Jesus began his ministry on the way to the cross, Satan tried to turn him away from the path of suffering and sacrifice. In the wilderness, he tempted him to turn stones into bread and jump off the temple and get the rulership of the world by worshipping him (Matthew 4:1-11). The point of all these temptations is: Don’t walk the path of suffering and sacrifice and death. Use your power to escape suffering. If you’re the Son of God, show your right to reign. And I can help you do it. Whatever you do, don’t go to the cross.

Then do you remember the time when Jesus predicted he would suffer many things from the elders and the chief priests and be killed and Peter rebuked him and said, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you” (Matthew 16:22). In other words, I will never let you be killed like that. Jesus did not commend him. He said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Matthew 16:23). Hindering Jesus from going to the cross was the work of Satan. Satan did not want Jesus crucified. It would be his undoing.

But here he is in Luke 22:3 entering into Judas and leading him to betray the Lord and bring him to the cross. Why the about face? Why try to divert him from the cross and then take the initiative to bring him to the cross? We are not told. Here is my effort at an answer: Satan saw his efforts to divert Jesus from the cross failing. Time after time, Jesus kept the course. His face was set like flint to die, and Satan concludes that there is no stopping him. Therefore he resolves that if he can’t stop it, he will at least make it as ugly and painful and as heartbreaking as possible. Not just death, but death by betrayal. Death by abandonment. Death by denial (see Luke 22:31-32). If he could not stop it, he would drag others into it and do as much damage as he could. It was a spectacular sequence of sins that brought Jesus to the cross.

3) God’s Role in the Murder of His Son

Which brings us now to the third and final question—the most important one: Where was God when this happened? Or more precisely: What was God’s role or non-role in the most spectacular sin that ever happened—the murder of Jesus Christ?

To answer a question like that we should put our hands on our mouths and silence our philosophical speculations. Our opinions don’t count here. All that counts is what God himself as shown us in his word. And the first thing he shows us is that the details surrounding the death of Jesus are prophesied in God’s word hundreds of years before they happen.

The Scriptures prophesy that evil men will reject Jesus when he comes.

Matthew 21:42: “Jesus said to them (quoting Psalm 118:22), ‘Have you never read in the Scriptures: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes”?’”

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus must be hated.

In John 15:25, Jesus quoted Psalm 35:19 and said, “The word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’”

The Scriptures prophesy that the disciples would abandon Jesus.

In Matthew 26:31, he quotes Zechariah 13:7: “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’”

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus will be pierced but none of his bones will be broken.

John quotes Psalm 34:20 and Zechariah 12:10 and says, “One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear. . . . For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken.’ And again another Scripture says, ‘They will look on him whom they have pierced’” (John 19:34-37).

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus would be betrayed by a close friend for thirty pieces of silver.

In John 13:18, Jesus cites Psalm 41:9 and says, “I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’”

And in Matthew 26:24, Jesus says, “The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!”

And in Matthew 27:9-10, it says, “Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me’” (Jeremiah 19:1-13; Zechariah 11:12-13).

And not only the Scriptures, but Jesus himself prophesies, down to the details, how he will be killed.

In Mark 10:33-34, he says, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”

And on that last night, Jesus looked at Peter and said, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times” (Matthew 26:34).

According to His Sovereign Will

From all these prophesies, we know that God foresaw, and did not prevent, and therefore included in his plan that his Son would be rejected, hated, abandoned, betrayed, denied, condemned, spit upon, flogged, mocked, pierced, and killed. All these are explicitly in God’s mind before they happen as things that he plans will happen to Jesus. These things did not just happen. They were foretold in God’s word. God knew they would happen and could have planned to stop them, but didn’t. So they happened according to his sovereign will.

And all of them were evil. They were sin. It is sin to reject, hate, abandon, betray, deny, condemn, spit upon, flog, mock, pierce, and kill the morally perfect, infinitely worthy, divine Son of God. And yet the Bible is explicit and clear that God himself planned these things. It is explicit not only in all the prophetic texts we have seen, but also in passages that say even more plainly that God brought these things to pass.

God Brought It to Pass

For example, in Isaiah 53:6 and 10, it says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. . . . It was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief.” So behind the spitting and flogging and mocking and piercing is the invisible hand and plan of God.

And I say that carefully and with trembling. This truth is too big and too weighty and too shocking to be glib about or to be cocky about. I choose to say that the invisible hand and plan of God are behind these most spectacular sins in all the universe—more grievous and more spectacular than the fall of Satan or any others. The reason I use these very words is because the Bible says it in those very words.

The Hand and Plan of God

In Acts 4:27-28, we have the clearest, most explicit statement about God’s hand and plan behind the horrific crucifixion of his Son. “Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand (cheir) and your plan (boule) had predestined to take place.” Those are the two words I am using: the hand of God and the plan of God.

It is a strange way of speaking—to say that God’s hand and plan have predestined something to happen. One does not ordinarily think of God’s “hand” predestining. How does a hand predestine? Here’s what I think it means: The hand of God ordinarily stands for God’s exerted power—not power in the abstract, but earthly, effective exertions of power. The point of combining it with “plan” is to say that it is not just a theoretical plan; it is plan that will be executed by God’s own hand.

This explains Isaiah 53:10: “It was the will of the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief.” Or more literally, with the King James Version, “It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.” The Lord bruised him. Behind Herod and Pilate and the Gentiles and the people of Israel was Jesus’ own Father who loved him with an infinite love.

The Gospel: God At Work in Death

Why should this matter to you?  It should matter because if God were not the main Actor in the death of Christ, then the death of Christ could not save us from our sins and we would perish in hell forever. The reason the death of Christ is the heart of gospel—the heart of the good news—is God was doing it. Romans 5:8: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” If you break God’s activity from the death of Jesus, you lose the gospel. This was God’s doing. It is the highest and deepest point of his love for sinners. His love for you.

Romans 8:3: “Sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.” God condemned sin in Jesus’ flesh with our condemnation. So we are free.

Galatians 3:13: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” God cursed Jesus with the curse that belonged on us. So we are free.

2 Corinthians 5:21: “For our sake [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” God imputed our sin to him, and now we go free in God’s righteousness.

Isaiah 53:5: “He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities.” God wounded him. God crushed him. For you and me. And we go free.

The Cross of Christ: The Work and Love of God

The reason why this series of messages matters is this. If you embrace the biblical truth (and I pray you will) that God ordains spectacular sins for the global glory of his Son, without in anyway becoming unholy or unrighteous or sinful in that act, then you will not shrink back from the cross of Christ as a work of God. You will not be among the number of those who call the most loving act that ever was “divine child abuse.” You will come to the cross and fall on your face. And you will say: This is no mere human conspiracy. This is the work of God and the love of God. You will it receive as his highest gift. And you will be saved. And Christ will be glorified. And I will not have preached in vain.

© Desiring God

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