Let us pray: Almighty and everlasting God, You willed that Your Son should bear for us the pains of the cross, that You might remove from us the power of the adversary: Help us to remember and give thanks for our Lord’s Passion that we may obtain remission of sin and redemption from everlasting death; through the same, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Grace to you and peace, from God, our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
31 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.
35 And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. 36 For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”
These are Your words heavenly Father. Sanctify us by the truth. Your Word is truth. Amen.
It’s All According to Plan
Dear fellow redeemed,
The Jews had plans for Jesus. Some wanted to make Him a king of one sort or another, whether it was a bread king who would provide for them all their earthly needs, or a revolutionary king who would bring Israel out from Roman control. Others, particularly the Jewish leaders, made plans to kill Jesus.
What happened here in these days of Christ’s life? Many of those in the world who do not understand who Christ is and what He came into the world to do might view Jesus’ suffering and death as a tragic ending to a promising future.
None of us make plans for tragedy. We make plans for vacations. We make plans for our children preparing them for the future. We make plans for the gift of a family, for career aspirations, for a happy home. We make plans for an enjoyable retirement. And we thank God for these gifts that we can look forward to. But never do we plan for tragedies. We might make plans in case of tragedies. The school students, for example, perform fire drills and tornado drills. Many of you have generators to provide electricity to avoid the problems that might ensue from a power outage.
But God’s plans looked different. Jesus’ death is a tragedy, but not an unfortunate one, as though it happened by chance. God planned this awful suffering and death of His Son. It was planned from even before the foundation of the world. This plan was first revealed to man in the Garden of Eden. The woman’s offspring will have his heel bruised by the serpent, but He will crush the serpents head. Our gospel reading before us also makes this clear.
These things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.” The prophets had foretold this plan from the mind of God.
The Son of God became flesh and was born for this. He was anointed to be the Suffering Servant. The path before Him was divinely appointed to go directly to the cross, where He would be lifted up.
But why? On the one hand, it is because of our sin. On account of our sin, we deserve the shame, the mocking, the beating, the nails, the cross, the hell. It was our sins of thought, word, and deed, that rejected Him, treated Him shamefully, and put Him on the cross. On the other hand, the reason Jesus followed this pre-ordained path to the cross was because of His love for you, to redeem you from you sins.
He set His face to Jerusalem to suffer and die. In the Garden of Gethsemane, the weight of the suffering He was about to encounter was overwhelmingly great for Him. He became sorrowful and troubled, more than anyone can imagine. A most awful cup of suffering He had to drink. Yet He was willing to do the Father’s will, drinking that cup to the bitter dregs.
Behold Him on the cross. The suffering, the shame, the aching breaths, the Son abandoned by His Father, the divine wrath heavy upon His shoulders, and then His lifeless body. It is all according to the loving plan of God to save you from your sins.
And Jesus said, “It is finished.” The plan of your rescue, planned from before the foundation of the world, and foretold by the prophets, is perfectly completed in His death!
Yes, how evil the rejection, the slander, the murder. Tragic, yet not unfortunate. Tragic and very wonderful. We are eternally blessed because of Jesus’ willful suffering and death.
And so, now, as God’s baptized, joined to Christ, we possess present realities that can not be touched by any tragedy or trouble that may come our way. For on account of Christ, we are forgiven, and righteous before God. We are members of His kingdom of grace, children of God, and heirs of life in eternal glory! This was the joy that was set before Him, the joy for which He was willing to endure the cross. Thanks be to our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, forevermore. Amen.