for those who live in jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. and though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked pilate to have him executed. and when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. but God raised him from the dead, [acts 13:27-30]


what the enemy means for evil, God means for good. we see an incredible truth in this passage about the sovereignty and power of God. we see the religious leaders actually deluding themselves into thinking they were serving God by crucifying his Son. their ears were closed to the promises of a Messiah, although they had heard them over and over and over. and so they hated him. they hated his claim to authority. they hated his condemnation of their hypocrisy. they hated the threat to their power and control over the people. they hated him so much that they would commit murder by lying and manipulating until they had their way.


he was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth;

like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,

    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.

and they made his grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in his death,

although he had done no violence,

    and there was no deceit in his mouth. [isaiah 53:7,9]


little did they know, however, that they were fulfilling the very promises of God even through their hatred and rebellion. God was using their very sin to carry out his plan of redemption. and this was not a last minute decision that God had to make. this is not evil men thwarting his plan so that he had to scramble for a plan “b”. no, God had declared this plan before the beginning of time, and had been revealing this plan all throughout the history of man, from the fall in the garden up to the time when Jesus actually hung on that dreadful tree. every second planned. every word fulfilled. God’s plan to crush his Son for the redemption of the people he loved was completed.


yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;

    he has put him to grief; [isaiah 53:10a]


God crushed his beloved Son for you and me. God crushed his beloved Son because you and i cannot be holy or righteous or blameless or clean on our own. God crushed his Son because before the beginning of time he set his love on his chosen people, his church, the bride of Christ. did the Father enjoy watching his Son die? by no means. but God often allows the thing he hates to bring about the thing he loves. and what does he love? he loves the redemption of his people! he loves to share the joy of the trinity with his beloved creation. he loved to watch the power and purity of Christ overcome the power of death and hell forever as he rose from the grave! he loves to have a Great High Priest at his right hand interceding for us sinners. he loves to put all things in subjection under the feet of the Conquering Christ!


when his soul makes  an offering for guilt,

    he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;

the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.


out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;

by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,

    make many to be accounted righteous,

    and he shall bear their iniquities.


therefore i will divide him a portion with the many,

    and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,

because he poured out his soul to death

    and was numbered with the transgressors;

yet he bore the sin of many,

    and makes intercession for the transgressors. [isaiah 53:10b-12]


we praise you, Father, for your infinite wisdom! we praise you for your sovereign plan! we praise you for planning and using every moment of the lives of sinners to bring about your perfect plan for your kingdom. we thank you for the willingness of Jesus to be humbled even unto death on the cross, and we thank you for showing his authority over death and hell forever. may we live in Christ’s victory. may we live as children of the Conquering King!


~arwen eastman