Listen, you should praise God for what I'm about to say. God did not leave your redemption up to whether you would initiate the first step or not. God had his eye on you from the beginning of time and it was certain that you would be brought into his family.
For the Lord Jesus, there never was a plan B. He came to die for us hopeless sinners and he did not and could not fail. That's the point Pastor Don Green will again drive home today on The Truth Pulpit. Hi, I'm Bill Wright and today Don completes the portrait of our Savior as detailed by the Gospel writer Luke, a Gentile physician. We've looked at the beginning of the story and we began a look at the middle. So let's complete the picture as we arrive ultimately at the crucifixion.
Here's Don with part two of Jesus on a Mission from The Truth Pulpit. The Lord Jesus Christ transcends all of us in this magnificent transcendence. He carries out this plan with the intention that his life would be a sacrifice for you and me.
That his blood would cover the sins of those who would come to him with the intention brothers and sisters in Christ, with the intention to take all of this inexpressible magnitude and to convey it to the blessing of his people because that was part of the divine plan. I don't know about you, I don't know how anyone can respond with indifference to that. Do you?
How could you be indifferent to that? How could this not just captivate your soul and say, this is the one I must know? And why did it have to be Jerusalem? Look at Luke 13. Luke 13 verse 33.
Jesus said, I must. You see the word again, right? Y'all see that? I must.
Four letters. You see it, right? It's okay, you can nod, you can let me know that you're tracking with me. It's okay.
You see it, right? I must journey on today and tomorrow and the next day, for it cannot be that a prophet would perish outside of Jerusalem. Why is he going to Jerusalem?
Because that's where he was supposed to go. It was according to divine compulsion, the divine plan, the divine mission that he goes, knowing what lie ahead. So you see, beloved, Jesus did not spend his life reacting to unforeseen circumstances.
He wasn't continually dialing up plan B and plan C. He was on plan A from beginning to end. This was all according to the divine plan that God had determined for his son. Jesus, in saying, I must do this, is expressing the fact that he was willingly acting upon divine obligation.
Think about this, this just kind of occurred to me. Jesus Christ, it was utterly unthinkable to Jesus Christ to stray an iota from the divine will. Does that convict you like it does me in terms of how we view the Word of God, how we view the law of God, how casually we can set it aside when it's to our convenience, when it's contrary to our desires? The Lord Jesus Christ, it was unthinkable to stray from the will of God.
He's here, that's unthinkable, we're here. Yeah, it's kind of a casual matter to us sometimes. Is that the way it should be? Shouldn't our approach, shouldn't our thinking of submission to the Word of God somehow start to be elevated and conformed to the attitude that Christ had to the will of God? I must do this. It should be on our heart that when we see Scripture clearly, I must do this. How would I excuse myself from an obligation that Christ himself would not excuse from himself?
Even more searchingly, why would I want to? What does that say about those motions of sin in your heart that this would even be an option to you? What does it say about my heart? You see, at so many levels, we see the exalted nature of Christ as he carries out the divine mission. Look at Luke chapter 17, verse 24. Jesus re-emphasizes what we saw in Luke 13. Looking toward his second coming, he says in Luke 17, verse 24, just like the lightning when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in his day.
Okay, that's cool. That's going to be glorious. That'll be spectacular.
That'll be fireworks like no one's ever seen before. Verse 25, but first, before we get to that, three, Jesus says, speaking of himself in the third person, he says, but first, he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. It must. It has to be this way. Now, and so, Jesus sees this great macro plan from the beginning to the end, all points in between, and as he marches through in his earthly life, he's teaching his disciples, this is what's going to happen, and it's going to happen because it must happen.
It must happen because this is what God determined to be. So, there's this great macro plan, this great overarching sense of divine compulsion that you can step back and see from the space shuttle view, and you see the whole thing laid out, and you see the majesty of it all, and you see the grand design from beginning to end. Watch this. Watch what comes next. This isn't simply a macro plan.
It's a micro plan as well. Look at Luke chapter 19. Luke chapter 19, and the story of Zacchaeus, whom most of you know was a wee little man. Luke 19, Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through, and there was a man called by the name of Zacchaeus.
He was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. Zacchaeus was trying to see who Jesus was and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he's trying to see. He's trying to peek over, and he can't, and so there's this sense of urgency on Zacchaeus' heart, and so in verse 4, he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Christ, for Christ was about to pass through that way.
You get the picture. It's a pretty vivid story. Look at verse 5. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house. There was a divine appointment with a single man by name in this great earthly life that is fulfilling the eternal plan of God. That eternal plan of God included one man by name on that day in that tree.
A universal view of this plan, universal in the sense of wide-ranging scope, down to the detail of a particular man who would have been despised by everyone around him because of his station in life. The Jews hated tax collectors, and yet there's a divine appointment. Jesus says, Zacchaeus, I gotta be with you.
I must be with you tonight. And so, it's not just that Jesus was on a plan of general redemption. Jesus was on a plan of particular redemption.
It wasn't just mankind in general, he was after people by name. All part of the divine plan. And the urgency that was in Zacchaeus' heart to see Jesus was part of it. You see, the whole force of divine history was moving not only on Jesus, but in Zacchaeus so that he would be there at just that moment. That's how great the divine plan of redemption is. When you and I came to Christ, it wasn't any different. There was a divine appointment certain to be taken place. Listen, you should praise God for what I'm about to say. God did not leave your redemption up to whether you would initiate the first step or not. God had his eye on you from the beginning of time, and it was certain that you would be brought into his family. It must.
It must! Jesus' time with Zacchaeus was a divine necessity. Jesus had to bring salvation to him because it was the will of God, it was the will of the Father, and Jesus was always obeying the will of his Father.
You see, and I labor over this point, not necessarily in this room, but so many resist this most glorious truth. Zacchaeus was no surprise to Christ. This was no accident. This wasn't Zacchaeus taking the first step. It was a divine appointment that Jesus was certain to fulfill, and he did. Look at verse 6.
Zacchaeus hurried and came down and received him gladly, that joy being a mark of the work of God in his heart. When they saw it, verse 7, they all began to grumble, saying, He's gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner. Talk about people who are missing the point. They're concerned about ceremonial defilement while they are observing the outworking of the eternal plan of God. And it's no different today. As people watch the proclamation of the Gospel and mock it, as people disregard the Scriptures while people are getting saved around them, they are completely blind to the fact that a divine plan is working out and they're worried about who's going to be the next hero on American Idol. It's so trivial when you see it from this perspective.
We haven't changed in the ensuing 2,000 years as a race. Verse 8, Zacchaeus stopped, said to the Lord, Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor. If I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give four times as much back. A divine work of repentance in his heart.
Greedy tax collectors didn't do that sort of thing. It's a miracle. Verse 9, Jesus said, Today salvation has come to this house because he too is a son of Abraham, for the son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. What is this divine plan? Jesus Christ is here on earth coming to seek and to save that which was lost.
Not to bring his prosperity. Not to give indiscriminate signs to people who would never believe anyway. A divine plan.
A divine rescue mission. Lost sinners headed for judgment suddenly have a champion on the scene. There was no surprise. The train was pulling into the station right on schedule. And so, in light of what we've seen, when Christ was crucified, we already know by the time we get to that account in the gospel, nothing was going wrong.
It was a plan being fulfilled to perfection. Look at Luke chapter 23 verse 46. Our verb is not in this voice.
The verb, the Greek verb that we've been focusing on here. But you get a window into the divine plan when Jesus, hanging on the cross, in Luke 23 verse 46, he cried out with a loud voice and said, Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. The words of the Old Testament prophet on his lips. Fulfilling even in his dying breath the divine plan of God. Fulfilling even in his final moment. Yes, beloved, from the moment of his conception in Matthew chapter 1 to his dying breath here in Luke 23, Jesus, under the authority of the plan of God, under the authority of the word of God, Jesus, fulfilling divine prophecy to the letter, to perfection.
Not one jot, not one tittle will be left undone. Matthew 5, 17 through 20. Don't think that I came to abolish the law, I came to fulfill it. And so he's crucified for sinners slain. Three days later, he comes out of the grave. And in the announcement of the resurrection, the same theme of the divine plan is expressed once more. Verse 6. He is not here, but he has risen. Remember how he spoke to you while he was still in Galilee, saying that?
Here it is again. The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and on the third day rise again. And verse 8, they remembered his words. After his death in the resurrection, remember this is the divine plan. It must happen. It had to occur this way.
Don't look for him here. The divine plan has moved into its next stage. So the beginning.
The middle. Now we come to the end. The end of the gospel, really, of course, not the end of the life of Christ because he's a son of God eternally, now living, ascended at the right hand of heaven, interceding for us even as we speak here today. For he ever lives to make intercession for his saints. Oh, the majesty of the glory of Christ. The majesty of our Savior. The majesty of our salvation. We have a brother in heaven who has fulfilled the divine plan, and now he pleads for us. He intercedes for us.
He represents us before the holy throne of God, having fulfilled this divine plan with our salvation now accomplished, merely waiting for him to return and bring it to its ultimate consummation and our final glorification. That's the divine plan. But now point number three, the end. That sounded like the end, but that wasn't the end that I have in mind here. Because there's more even in the gospel of Luke for us to see. Point number three, the end.
That's where you're with me on your notes, right? Jesus interpreted his earthly life after his resurrection for the men on the road to Emmaus. Look at Luke chapter 24.
You remember the story. We won't go over it all. These two men were with Jesus, but they didn't recognize him. They didn't know who they were talking to. Luke 24 verse 16, their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. And Jesus said to them, what are these words that you're exchanging with one another as you're walking on the way? And they stood still looking sad.
And so they tell them their sad tale. Verse 20, the chief priests and our rulers crucified him. We were hoping he was going to redeem Israel, but it's the third day since these things happened. Verse 22, some women amazed us. They were at the tomb. They didn't find their body. They saw a vision. Verse 24, some of them went to the tomb. They found it just like the women had said, but him they did not see. It's all so confusing to us.
We don't know what to make of it. Verse 25, Jesus with a certain element of rebuke in his voice said to them, oh foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken. Verse 26, here's our verb again. Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and enter into his glory? It was necessary.
Don't you get it? Verse 27, then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, he explained to them the things concerning himself in all the scriptures. I'm fulfilling what Moses and the prophets said would happen. The word of God cannot fail.
Nothing will be left behind. When it's all gathered up at the end, you'll find that I fulfilled every single thing that my father sent me to do. Why was this necessary? It's necessary, beloved, because the word of God cannot fail. The word of God must be fulfilled. Look at Luke 24, verse 44. Luke 24, verse 44. Now he said to them, these are my words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.
The threefold division of the Hebrew Bible. Everything that's in there, it had to be fulfilled. It must be fulfilled.
God, our God, the God of the universe, sees the end from the beginning. He does what no one else can do and sets it forth in motion a plan throughout the ages that is certain in its fulfillment. What he speaks must come to pass because he is a God of truth and his word cannot fail. God said these things will occur, Christ came, they had to occur.
It must be fulfilled. God planned redemption before time began. Brothers and sisters in Christ, you're a Christian today because God planned it that way. You are on the receiving end of unspeakable grace, unspeakable power, unspeakable mercy, unspeakable love. You are on the receiving end of the mercy of a reconciling God to which you had no claim. And having given it to you in the divine plan, he's not going to take it away.
He's not going to reverse course. It's yours forever. And you can see how Luke ends his gospel to bring us to exactly that point. You should worship with joy. Luke 24 verse 50, Jesus led them out as far as Bethany and he lifted up his hands and he blessed them. And while he was blessing them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.
And they, after worshiping him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy and were continually in the temple praising God. There you go. There's your heart response. This is the framing disposition of your Christian life from this moment forward. Out with the doubt, out with the anxieties, out with the bitterness and anger of past disappointments, out with it all. Our response, yours and mine, to this great accomplishment of Christ revealed in the Gospel of Luke is one of worship, one of great joy, one of great praise. This is how we think about life now that we see the divine plan carried out in Christ and applied to our hearts.
I'll say it one more time. What a great salvation. And with that, Pastor Don Green has concluded a study in Luke called Jesus on a Mission on the Truth Pulpit. Next time, we move into the book of John as we focus on the deity of Jesus and round out our look at four portraits of Christ. Well, Don, as you've emphasized throughout the past few broadcasts, the plans of God cannot be foiled.
The crucifixion was not a plan gone awry. Rather, it was God's sovereign will from before the foundations of the earth. So what does his sovereignty imply for each individual believer? My brother or sister in Christ, God's sovereignty means that you can be confident in his purposes for your life. He didn't save you now simply to abandon you later. Scripture says that he who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. He causes all things to work together for good to those who have turned to Christ. And so even if your life is difficult now, my friend, you can rest in Christ.
He has the power and the love to accomplish everything that concerns you. Thanks, Don. And, friend, we hope you'll visit us at TheTruthPulpit.com, where you can learn how to get a free CD copy of today's lesson. Again, that's at TheTruthPulpit.com. I'm Bill Wright inviting you back next time when Don Green presents more from The Truth Pulpit.
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