There’s a scripture and phrase that have been swirling in my mind all day long. It reads as follows: “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:23 AV). This verse concerns what happened to our Lord Jesus Christ over two thousand years ago during a week which we are commemorating throughout this week commonly known as Holy Week. Peter, while preaching under conviction about the Jews who witnessed the advent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, underscored a higher principle at work against the wicked hands that had crucified our Lord. He plainly states that the crucifixion of Jesus was resultant of the determinate counsel of God. The NRSV spells it out more clearly; note its terminology: “this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law” (Acts 2:23 NRSV). God knew it and planned it, even though it wasn’t His hands that did it.
A salient truth that must be understood in order for Holy Week to be properly appreciated is this: God is behind all. This understanding gives resonance to the words of Joseph that he uttered to the very brethren who betrayed him when he said, “You planned something bad for me, but God produced something good from it in order to save the lives of many people, just as he’s doing today” (Gen. 50:20 CEB). Doesn’t this sound like Jesus? Although He was crucified at the hands of wicked men, God produced something good from it! I especially like the last part of Genesis 50:20 wherein Joseph reminds his brethren that God is producing something good from their nefarious deeds even today. May God give all of us the faith and wisdom to believe that no matter how bad certain occurrences that took place in our lives today may be, He is producing something good. Just give it time to manifest.
Yours in His Service,
Bishop Lambert W. Gates, Sr.