Cross Walk Devotional: The Plan

So, What’s the Plan?

“So, what’s the plan?” I ask.  Family is coming and I need to be ready. They all know that I like to have a plan. I function best when I can make a list so nothing is forgotten and no one is overlooked. I will also admit that My Plan offers me a certain sense of security.

As I study the life of Jesus and his disciples, I wonder if Jesus’ followers found a sense of security in what they thought was “The Plan.” After all, the prophet Isaiah foretold of one who would

“. . . reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.” Isa 9:7

And they believed that Jesus was the fulfillment of those words. But the story doesn’t seem to play out as expected and as I read and re-read the accounts of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, I am drawn to thinking about the “rest of the story.”  There is much to ponder beneath the obvious event of a once devoted follower selling out Jesus, Son of God, for a measly 30 pieces of silver.

If there were any doubts about Jesus’ future and their roles in it, the disciples weren’t seeing them. It fact, it had been an incredible week! On Sunday, they were welcomed to Jerusalem by crowds lining the road with their cloaks and with palm branches cut from nearby trees. The people sang and shouted, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.  Hosanna in the highest.” The Plan seemed to be right on track.

The next day they witnessed a side of Jesus they had not seen before. Jesus, entering the temple, was angered at the buying and selling taking place in the temple area.  He drove out the merchants, overturning tables and benches and forbidding anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. Just what they needed! A king who could rule with a strong hand. What excitement! How exhilarating! Victory at last!  But the trend did not continue.

Thursday, Jesus and his disciples gathered for what we commonly call the Last Supper. Jesus continues to talk about things like his death, his betrayal. Exactly the opposite of what one expects to hear from a conquering king. When Jesus is finished speaking, they sing a hymn and an exhausted and confused group of disciples, led by Jesus, retire to the Mount of Olives and the peace of Gethsemane.

Soon, the darkness and quiet peace of the Mount of Olives were shattered by the sounds of an approaching crowd. Torches could be seen as a collective of soldiers armed to the hilt and officials from the chief priests and Pharisees approached.  As the group drew closer, a familiar face stepped out from the crowd, greeted Jesus with, “Rabbi” followed by a kiss on the cheek. This was the secret signal to the soldiers to seize Jesus. Seize him? But he is the future King! The disciples must have been astounded when Jesus did not resist. Even when a passionate Peter drew his sword and swiftly sliced off the ear of a servant. Jesus’ response, again, is not one expected from a man who is about to conquer the Roman Empire and return the nation of Israel to the throne.  Instead, Jesus rebuked Peter and then goes peacefully with those who were there to arrest him. To say the least, The Plan envisioned by the disciples had been turned upside down. How disillusioned, confused and disappointed they must have felt. Can you relate? I certainly can.

As I continue to think about the defining moments of that last night in the Garden of Gethsemane, I am drawn to Jesus and his response to The Plan. Namely, in the hours prior to Judas’ betrayal, Jesus poured out his heart to God begging for release from what was to come. (Ironically, Peter, James and John whom Jesus had invited to join him, slept through it all.) Jesus completely surrendered himself to God’s Plan when he said,  “Yet not my will but yours be done.” Shortly afterwards, Jesus confidently and with the bearing of a King peacefully went with his accusers and soon to be murderers. He, without resistance or complaint, picked up and carried his own cross after hours of humiliation and torture. Astounding! How did he do it? He simply trusted and obeyed. Through his obedience to the Father, he completely conquered death and Satan’s hold over mankind and, in doing so, offered salvation to all who believe. That had been The Plan all along.

Proverbs 16:9 “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”

When we open our hearts, our eyes and our ears to Jesus’ leading, success will always be the result. The only worthy Plan is to follow in his footsteps, relying as completely as he did on the Father, surrendering to His Plan and, with humble willingness, carry the cross we are given—no matter what. Jesus has shown us how.

All praise be to our God and Father who loves us unconditionally to infinity!!!

How wonderful to know that we are loved.

You are loved!

Sharon Cooke