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We just heard entire passion account told by Jesus beloved disciple, apostle John. It is quite an account. Beginning with Jesus arrest. With several hundred armed solder coming to arrest one man.
And when this man, Jesus Christ identified Himself saying “I am He” they all felt on the ground. They couldn’t do anything if He hadn’t given Himself into their hands. But He was determined to do it.
Jesus is brought to the high priests. Beaten. Offended. Brought to Pilate. There the Jews try to insinuate Him, demanding His death. Pilate questions Jesus but doesn’t find any guilt in Him. He tries to find a way to release Jesus, but mob asks for Barabbas.
They demand not only to release Barabbas, but … to crucify Jesus. “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate seeks to release him, but the Jews cry out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend.” That’s a political dilemma. If He doesn’t do what the Jews demand, they would accuse Him before Caesar.
Flogged and beaten Jesus is led to the place of crucifixion. His garments are divided among solders, He is given sour wine to satisfy His thirst, and when everything is fulfilled as it was written by prophets, Jesus gives up His spirit. All of this before the eyes of His disciples.
Today I would like to ask you to meditate about two questions? How determinate is our God? How strongly willed to fulfil what He has decided. And what does this mean for us? How determinate is our God, and what does it mean for us?
First, let’s reflect how determinate are we to serve our Lord Jesus Christ? When we are in fellowship in the Church, when we hear the Gospel about God’s sacrificial love for us preached, we can get quite passionate. Right?
Now we’ll go and share the Gospel with those whom we meet. Now we’ll serve them as Jesus has served us. Now we’ll live like real Christians. We’ll change our lives and lives of others, we’ll bring them into Kingdom of God.
How long does this our determination last? While we are in the Church? Until we face our daily problems with ungrateful relatives and neighbours, with good people around us who surprisingly enough are quite hostile to the Gospel? Until we realize that it is quite inconvenient and uncomfortable to talk about this God, who died on the cross. How long… we all know how long…
Now let’s see how determinate is God to fulfil His promises? Our first reading was from the prophet Isaiah, he foretold in details the same events that John described. But Isaiah did it already more than seven centuries before Jesus was even born.
God knew what He was going to do. He knew it all the time. From the very beginning. The Book of Revelation talks about the Lamb that was killed before the creation of the world. (Rev 13:8)
Meditate about these words! What do they tell us? How long in advance the Son of God knew what is going to happen? Lamb that was killed before the creation of the world… The Son of God, the Word of God through whom everything was created was looking at the fallen humanity from its very beginnings knowing what He will have to do to save us.
Have you heard people asking why did God permit the fall of Adam and Eve if He knew what misery is going to follow? More appropriate question would be: “How did God permit Adam and Eve to fall when He knew what it will cost Him to save us?”
What kind of determination is this? How firm is God’s will? How unchangeable? We can’t even comprehend it. He knew from the beginning what He is going to do. Right after the fall God gave this promise to Adam and Eve that He Himself will be born as a man, to crush Satan’s head, and that it will take His own life to accomplish it.
When time came, He became man, He lived His life knowing how it is going to end. How is this, to live knowing your fate, knowing sufferings and humiliation that awaits you?
God’s love to us is anything, but sentimental. His love is driven by nails, marked with scars, and crowned with thorns. The Bible speaks about God as about mighty warrior, the Lord of Armies, who leads into victory with outstretched hand and mighty arm. He comes to fulfil what He has decided. Nothing can stop Him. Nothing!
But He achieves His greatest victory in the most unexpected way. He uses His power not do destroy His enemies, that is – us, rebels and sinners, but to destroy our enemies, – sin, death and devil. He triumphs victoriously by emptying Himself.
You see, God’s determination is unmovable, unshakable, unchangeable. He doesn’t change. He is faithful. Time doesn’t matter. Situation doesn’t matter. Our sins don’t matter. Our addictions don’t matter. Our unfaithfulness doesn’t matter. If He has promised something, if He has made up His mind, if He has declared what He is going to do, there is no way back. He will accomplish it.
Now, what does it mean for us? These are the best news for us. The Gospel. For He has made up His mind about what He is going to do for us. And nothing can change it. Listen to few things He has declared.
There is now no more condemnation for those who are baptized and trust it Christ Jesus. He has decided to forgive you, He has decided to make us all a new creation, He has decided to transfer you into the Kingdom of His Son, to reconciled you with Himself, to provide for your needs and to satisfy all your thirst, to give you that peace that comes from His presence, to protect you from all evil, to give you the Holy Spirit, who serves as the seal for all His promises. He has decided to give you imperishable inheritance prepared for His heirs, for His children.
That’s who you are. His children. These are His promises to you. We could continue this list on and on. And He is determined to fulfil all His promises. All the events described in the Bible serve this purpose, – to assure you about God’s determination, about His steadfast faithfulness to His promises.
He has made up His mind about you, and there is nothing that could stop Him. So you can be sure, as sure as possible that ‘neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:38-39)
Be sure, He is determined about you and nothing will change it.