Opening thoughts: I love that God is Sovereign, don’t you? The thought of Him not being Sovereign, to me, is down right terrifying! Let’s think about that for a second… there has been an ongoing war in the middle East for what, ten years now? What if God is not in control over that situation? If all we can do is watch and wait as men and women battle it out, where is the comfort in that? If that is the case, we should be numb with fear. Have kingdoms not risen and fallen throughout the ages as a result of war? Have leaders not toppled due to other nations conquering and bringing them down? Is God not in control of all of that? The Scriptures are filled with assurance that God indeed is in control of all things, and is supreme over them all. The desire to take supremacy into our own hands and believe that man is in control of anything is nothing less than the original sin.
Eve was promised the power and wisdom of God which pleased her when presented with the idea, yet God is, and always will, remain in supreme authority over every thing, even the sparrows that fall. God weaved a master plan from start to finish including the sin and slavery of man and the victorious triumph of the Chosen One to redeem His people from bondage to sin and its ultimate sentence. Jesus was never worried when He was on the earth. He always knew He had to die and when that time would be, so no other threats bothered Him because He was on a mission that would come to completion and no earthly attack could stop what God had pre-planned. Please read the passages below followed by the main text from Luke.
Psalm 22:28 ESV … For kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.
Psalm 47:8 ESV … God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.
Psalm 103:19 ESV … The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.
Psalm 115:3 ESV … Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.
Daniel 4:17 ESV … The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’
Romans 13:1 ESV …Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
Luke 13:31-35 ESV … At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem”
Fear Tactics & Threats: The Pharisees came to Jesus with threatening news from Herod and they were no doubt eager to deliver the message. They were single minded in their pursuit of trying to put an end to Jesus’ mission of declaring who He was through His teachings. The Pharisees for the most part were jealous of Jesus and wanted to kill Him themselves, so delivering this message brought them great pleasure. Jesus response was anything but friendly, He said, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem“. Jesus was not intimated by these threats in the least, and why should he be? He knew exactly what had to be done, what God had willed, and what would indeed come to pass.
Let’s say you were watching a movie with a friend that you’d seen before but your friend had not. A scene takes place where a child gets his leg caught on the railroad tracks and a train is bearing down on him. Your friend is terrified and on the edge of his seat because he does not know what you already know, and that is, that just before the train strikes the child his shoe slips off and he is saved within an inch of his life. Unlike your friend it’s easy to stay calm when you know the ending, although the situation is still intense you don’t have the same sense of fear because you already know the conclusion.
This is exactly what Jesus is feeling. He knows the Pharisees don’t want Him there. He knows that Herod doesn’t like Him or want Him there either and has just now threatened to kill Him, but he also knows that the Father has planned for Him to be there and that the time has not yet come for Him to die. No intense situation or threat by King, or religious leader, could phase Him because He knew His time was not complete. The predestined time for Him to die had not yet come and so He was unaffected by any sort of fear tactic. His words were, “Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem“, His reference of “today and tomorrow” meant “that very moment and for the time being”, He still had work to do. Then, speaking of the third day and finishing his course, he is saying that when the appointed time came THAT is when he would finish the work that he had come to do. He wasn’t speaking of literal days but using them as an illustration of time; today and tomorrow there is still work for me here, and the third day is a future date that is appointed for My death by the Father and not by man.
When a Christian can grasp the sovereignty of God, the fear of situations, sickness, loss, poverty, strife, threats and any sort of accusations, even death, vanishes. Why? Because we know that God has set up kingdoms, God has brought kingdoms down, He has predestined a plan from start to finish including your birth and every detail of your life, which is planned in accordance to His will right up to your death. If God wants you on earth, no disease can take you, and if God wants you dead no doctor can save you, that’s all there is to it. There is no room in a believer’s life for fear. This doesn’t mean that you won’t get sick and die! But what happens when a believer does gets sick and die? They go to their glorious home, to be with their treasure who is the Christ. That isn’t something to fear, that’s actually reason to rejoice. Paul says, “To die is gain”. Paul actually got this stuff, didn’t he? There is nothing that we should fear as children of God, except for Him. When we fear Him every other fear melts away.
If it is My Will: Perhaps Jesus speaking to Peter in the book of John is one of the most powerful texts that reveal the sovereign plan and control of God.
John 21:18-22 ESV …Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”
First Jesus describes in some detail the type of death that Peter will die. If He knew what type of death Peter would die, does it not follow to reason that He knows the same of us? Of course He does, and we won’t die a minute before the plan, and in no other way than planned. Peter was being told by Christ that His death would be painful and forced by others through crucifixion and that it was according to His will. God has different plans for all of us, what we do, who we marry, how we die, yet in all of that there is so much assurance knowing that our heavenly Father who works all things together for the good of those who are called according to His purpose, is fulfilling His plan in our lives as we speak. Even you reading this post is part of His plan. He doesn’t want His kids screaming at the top of their lungs in the middle of the night in the dead of a storm, terrified that they are going to die. He wants us to join Him in resting in the bottom of the boat as it almost capsizes. He wants us looking at threats in the face and saying, “I will not fear because God has it all worked out in accordance to His plan and will.”
Grace & Peace.