Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Beginning of the Last Week

I am still looking for my 25 year old notes on this subject, and so far coming up empty. Nevertheless, I do have the internet to help, something not around 25 years ago. I would like to start by putting the last week in sort of perspective. It is the most written about week in history, and if I had to pick one point of history that changed the world, it would be this one.

But from the perspective of Jesus it was a bit different. I am totally sure that I can not explain the divine perspective here, as my frail mind is much too weak to even begin to comprehend His perspective. But it is evident that Jesus foreknew what He was going to go through, and indeed, He was so sure of the event that at times He speaks as if it had already taken place. I am not going to try to tell what Jesus was thinking; rather I will list some of the things He was saying that I might understand more of His perspective:

1) “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” (John 17:4) In this passage, part of the Lord’s prayer, it should be evident that the cross was immediately ahead, and the work which the Father had sent the Son to accomplish was not yet done. How could Jesus pray that He completed all the work given to Him to do? The only answer that makes sense is that Jesus was taking divine perspective, and looking at the cross as if it were already finished. Genesis 3:15 is the first prophecy of the coming of the Son, and in the divine perspective, that which God decrees is already done, though the rest of us have to wait for time to unwind before we see the finished work. So when God declares, “he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel,” God is already seeing the cross as finished work, thousands of years before His incarnation.

2) “But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone.” (John 16:31,32) Jesus knew that He would face the cross essentially alone, abandoned even by those who followed Him.

3) “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? No it was for this very reason I came to this hour.” (John 12:27) Jesus, caught by the immediacy of the cross, looks to the Father, not that He might be saved, but rather that He might endure.

4) “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.” (John 14:28,29) Jesus plainly and frequently tells of the coming cross, that those who will hear, will believe.

There are many more passages that show Jesus foreknew exactly what was to happen, and as I approach the study of the last week, I want to do so with the stipulation that God foreknew all of the events of this last week, and each act that Jesus performed in this last and very busy week, was specifically arranged to bring glory to both the Father and the Son. If I am to understand the crucifixion aright, it needs to be understood as that which used the ill will of many leaders, coupled with the diabolical intentions of Satan himself, to bring about the utter and completely satisfactory death on the cross. In every way, Jesus gave Himself to the cross, and no man or angel took it from Him. And yet, each who opposed the Christ is responsible for their rejection, and will be held accountable. I think it is a beautiful picture of the meshing of the free will of man with the immutable design of a sovereign God. I may say I believe it, but I freely admit I do not understand it. Such things are too wonderful for me!

My Redeemer

1. I will sing of my Redeemer
And His wondrous love to me;
On the cruel cross He suffered,
From the curse to set me free.

2. I will tell the wondrous story,
How my lost estate to save,
In His boundless love and mercy,
He the ransom freely gave.

3. I will praise my dear Redeemer,
His triumphant power I'll tell,
How the victory He giveth
Over sin and death and hell.

4. I will sing of my Redeemer
And His heav'nly love to me;
He from death to life hath brought me,
Son of God with Him to be.

Sing, O sing of my Redeemer,
With His blood He purchased me;
On the cross He sealed my pardon,
Paid the debt and made me free.

Lyrics: Philip Paul Bliss

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