Summary: To understand and appreciate the magnitude of God’s sovereign control over the sequence of events leading upto the Cross.
Of “Control” at the Cross
Who has not come across this old saying …Rule 1.Your boss is always right. Rule 2. If you think the boss is wrong refer to rule 1. TAKE HEART THERE IS A BIG BOSS OVER ALL THE BOSSES. Of several Hebrew names for God, the word ADONAI (Isaiah 6:1) used to describe the Almighty on His Sovereign throne has through the ages brought comfort to the confused, solace to the distraught and reassurance to many with creased foreheads. The somber setting- King Uzziah, who by and large was a good King offering security and prosperity had died-to the vision of Prophet Isaiah is good enough reason for the Almighty to remind the worried Prophet (about the future of the Judean Kingdom) that good Kings may come and go but the King of Kings shall ALWAYS reign from His throne providing for His needy ones’ at all times.
Not only the King of Kings rules over all, He also at specific times influences’ (without their knowledge) the Kings and authorities, He has placed in power in a way they virtually dance to His Divine tune in order that the bigger Divine purposes are achieved. Take Christ’s birth in Bethlehem as a case in point. Where was the Holy family of Joseph and Virgin Mary when the time was drawing near for the birth of the Saviour? In Nazareth (Northern part of Israel) but as per the prophecies (Micah 5:2) where would the Messiah be born? In faraway Southern town of Bethlehem!!! So the Heavenly King in whose hands the heart of an Earthly King is like “a stream of water that He channels toward all who please him” (Proverbs 21:1) made Roman Emperor Augustus pass a decree that Census has to be taken which required all Jews return to their native towns and villages. Joseph’s forefathers who were descendants of King David (a native of Bethlehem) had due to so many unknown reasons in the past shifted from Bethlehem to Nazareth in the intermittent time of 1000 years (David lived around 1000 BC). But now thanks to the Royal decree…
All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son….Luke 2:3-7
So if in God’s plan the birth of “Lamb of God” (John 1:29) was foreordained in Bethlehem, then it was also part of His Redemption plan that God’s Paschal Lamb (I Cor 5:7-8) complete the atoning work on the Cross exactly on Passover day in Jerusalem again PRECISELY BETWEEN 3 PM AND 5 PM when the Paschal Lamb is slain as per the Law (Exodus 12:6). Mind you, by Jesus own words He came to fulfill the Law (Matt 5:17). Because He has met all the requirements of the Law, we are saved from its demands (Acts 15:4-11/Galatians 5:1).
Here it would not to be out of context to remind ourselves that just as the blood of the Paschal Lamb made the death angel passover the Jewish homes on the night of their redemption from Egyptian bondage (Exodus 12:21-23), the Blood of Jesus (God’s Paschal Lamb –I Cor 5:7-8) on us unworthy sinners makes the just wrath of God “Passover” over us (I Thess 1:10-TLB) at all times.
Now coming to Jerusalem as the selected place… why Jerusalem was chosen as the “THE PLACE OF ALL PLACES” where the Redemption plan prepared before the foundation of the World (I Peter 1:20/Rev 13:8) would be completed? By virtue of its location in the MIDDLE of the World (Ezekiel 5:5), it typified Jesus’ mediatory Ministry of bringing about reconciliation between Holy God and sinful mankind (1 Tim 2:5). The penalty of the Cross which requires the condemned “hands and legs be fastened by the nails to it” also in a way portrays the “MIDDLEMAN” role of the Saviour for in the Cross the condemned man’s head neither touches the sky nor do his legs touch the ground. He is right in the MIDDLE between God above and man below. Amazing, isn’t it! My Saviour paid the price in order I am liberated from both the clutches of sin and demands of the Law (I Cor 15:54-57).
At this stage, I intend to increase the intensity of the spotlight on the subject of Adonai God…it would stun many of us when we observe the sequence of events leading upto the Cross as to how the Almighty had “everything in His Sovereign control in order everything takes place at the right place and in the right time”. Now consider this Scripture in the background of Jesus’ arrest “in the night before His crucifixion” and Judgment of the High Priest (Matt 26:57-66). Next day morning…