Predestined To Take Place
Acts 4:27-28 (ESV) – for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.
If you read the Gospels, and observe the events that unfolded in the arrest and death of Jesus, you see many people conspiring against Him. It is easy to see those things as injustices, and in many ways, they were. He was an innocent man. He knew no sin. But the events were not coincidence. They were a part of the plan of God from the foundation of the world.
We read in our passage today the words of Peter. They are a part of a prayer of thanks he offers after being released from his arrest by Jewish authorities for preaching. He is with the other believers who are amazed at what God is doing and how He is using the disciples. We read Peter’s prayer, “for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.”
Notice the content of this prayer. There were people gathered in the city against Jesus. Herod and Pontius Pilate are two examples of this, but it involved crowds of Jews and Gentiles. Their actions against Jesus led to His crucifixion. But notice that Peter says these people did “whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.”
People in churches often get tore up about the word predestination, even though it is in the Bible. Peter makes it clear here that the people conspiring against Christ were not merely acting out of their wickedness, but in the mystery of God, were carrying out His plan of salvation. You see, through the death of Jesus, sinners are reconciled to God. His death was a sacrifice for sinners. He became a substitute in the place of condemned men and women, and all who place their faith in Him are saved.
But this plan was the predetermined will of God. The people who acted against Jesus did exactly what God had predestined to be done. What does that word mean? It means there was a destiny. He set a destiny in place. These people, while acting from their own free will, did exactly what God’s chosen destiny was. You don’t have to unwind this mystery to marvel at it.
Jesus died according to the plan of God, not by accident. And what this means for us is that our salvation was not a Plan B, but a plan designed by God with intentionality and love.
Marvel at the mystery today. And live with gratitude toward the Christ delivered over for you.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why do Christians get so worked up over the word predestination when it is in the Bible?
- What does this passage teach about the events surrounding Jesus’ arrest and death?
- How should we approach trying to make sense of human responsibility and God’s control in this text?
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