“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”
It is both tragic and ironic that those in authority in the days of our Lord’s earthly ministry were the very people who opposed Him the most. Thought to be among humanity’s most brilliant and capable, they foolishly stood against the very One Who held their lives in existence (Colossians 1:17), the One Whose own life exemplified human perfection in every way. Even before His incarnation and birth, the nation whose ancestry He would adopt had been slated for destruction (Exodus 1:15-16). By God’s providential care, however, the nation survived and became the vehicle through which the Savior of the world came (John 4:22; Romans 9:4-5). As a young child, our Lord was opposed by no less authority than Herod the Great, who was so bent on destroying Him that he ordered the murder of all the children in Bethlehem of comparable age. By God’s power and providential care, our Lord’s life was preserved and the mad despot’s plans were utterly thwarted (Matthew 2:1-18). At the beginning of His public ministry, the Lord preached a hard message to His country men in a Synagogue in Nazareth. His audience was so offended they even made an attempt on His life! Luke explained that, “were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them went his way” (Luke 4:28-30). This mysterious preservation from death occurred numerous times in our Lord’s public ministry (John 7:30, 44; 8:59; 10:38-39). Those that wanted Him dead were as disappointed as those who sought to best Him in debate. They soon discovered that the One in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3) is unconquerable in rational combat also. The Lord’s enemies “could not take hold of his words before the people: and they marveled at his answer, and held their peace” (Luke 20:26). The Lord’s display of power in the Garden of Gethsemane (John 18:3-9) made it clear that His arrest, trial, and execution were by His permission. “No man taketh [my life] from me,” said Jesus, “but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10:18). No man, no demon, not even death itself (as today’s verse passage reminds us) can hope to conquer the Almighty, Sovereign Lord of heaven. Let us praise and thank our God that in Christ, His victories are our victories (Romans 16:20; 1 Corinthians 15:57). In Him, we too are invincible until our work on earth is complete.
Walk strong, dear saints, in courage and in much assurance,