(NOTE: This article is scheduled to appear in the March 25, 2009 edition of the Linn County News.)
"Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.” -- Acts 2:22-23 (NASB)
One of the great mysteries of God is how He can take an event that man plans for evil, and use that event for good. The best example of this in Scripture can be found in the cross of Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches that Jesus was an innocent man who didn’t deserve to be executed. In fact He was more than innocent, He was absolutely perfect. Unlike us, who struggle with sin daily, Jesus lived His entire life without once committing so much as a minor sin. Indeed Jesus could not sin because He was more than just a man. According to the Bible, He was “God among us.” (John 1:14)
The ones who accused, tried, and executed Jesus bear the responsibility for their sinful actions. But even though they, in their depravity, sought to commit an act of evil against our Lord; they were in fact working out God’s perfect plan of redemption. Though evil, they were pawns in the hands of a Sovereign God. Make no mistake; the cross was not an accident that God couldn’t stop. The cross was a part of God’s “predetermined plan” (Acts 2:23) to pay for sinners like you and me.
God in His perfect justice could not simply ignore sin. He had to judge it. But God in His perfect grace chose to pour the judgment out on Himself instead of on the sinners who deserved it. Are you a partaker in this act of Divine forgiveness? The Bible calls all of us to repent and turn from our sin; and place our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives. This is how we are forgiven. And this is how God grants a new life to unworthy sinners.
Take heart that God is in control. The cross was a tragedy because an innocent man was killed. But it was a glorious tragedy because sinners were redeemed. Though the Jews, Romans, and all of Christ’s enemies meant it for evil….God used it for good, for the sake of sinners like us.