Choice and Beyond Choice

Mar 27th, 2010 | By | Category: The Basics (click on Article name)

Choice

Pilate released Barabbas to the crowd. Jesus was stripped, tied to a pillar by the hands in a bent position and beaten with leather whips that were weighted with the jagged edges of bone and lead.  (Farrar)  Then they placed his rough tunic over his open wounds. John 19:1, Matthew 27:26a

The  Roman guards led Jesus into their barrack-room. (Farrar) They called together the whole company of soldiers.  They tore the bloodstained garment from his back and replaced it with a scarlet robe.  They twisted thorns together to make a crown and set it firmly on his head.  They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him in feigned worship. “Hail, King of the Jews,” they laughed and sneered.  The spit on him and took the staff and struck him on the head over and over again.  John 19:3, Matt. 27:27-30, Mark 15:16-19

The Lord GOD has opened my ear; and I was not disobedient, nor did I turn back. I gave my back to those who strike me, and my cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover my face from humiliation and spitting. Isaiah 50:5-6

The Father opened His Son’s understanding of His will and the assurances of His strength and companionship, and Jesus was not disobedient. He listened closely to the experiences of humiliation and abuse and voluntarily submitted to them, hearing through them the Father’s call to crystallize love, strength and loyalty.  Hebrews 5:8  “Though he was a son, he learned obedience #5218 (attentive hearkening, by impl. compliance or submission) from the things which he suffered.”  He did not run away from or interfere with the Cup that the Father poured for him.

For the Lord GOD helps me, therefore I am not disgraced; therefore, I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.  He who vindicates me is near; who will contend with me? Let us stand up to each other; who has a case against me? Let him draw near to me. Isaiah 50:7-8

He knew that the help and support of Adonai Jehovah was his.  “Adonai is the Lord in His relation to the earth; and as carrying out His purposes of blessing in the earth.…Jehovah is …God in covenant relation to those who He has created…the Eternal, the Immutable, the One, He Who WAS, and IS, and IS TO COME.”  Boulanger. The covenant and promises of the Father, and His immutable purpose to bless all the families of the earth gave Jesus the assurance that he, the one chosen to redeem, would not fail or be disgraced. With this assurance he was able to set his face like flint and resolutely stand immovable before every accusation and humiliating abuse.

Let us stand up to each other: He did not waver in the face of his opposition. Because he embraced the will of God, he ‘invites’ the experiences to unfold.  There is so much strength in his prophetically revealed attitude.  “I gave my back to those who strike me; I did not cover my face from humiliation and spittingLet us stand up to each other; who has a case against me?  Let him draw near to me.” Jesus is not a victim of circumstance.  He deliberately chooses to experience the Father’s will.

We also, can transform being a victim of circumstance.  If we are convinced that Adonai Jehovah is with us, then every permission and overruling is meant for eternal blessing in line with His covenant promises.  Therefore we can CHOOSE to accept whatever is happening, surrendering our resistance and resolutely stand immovable to accept whatever is required. This transforms being a victim into being a victor in His strength.

Beyond Choice

Jesus voluntarily fulfilled every detail of the Father’s will, as revealed to him through Scripture and through his intimate fellowship with his Father during his sacrificial life.  John 5:19-20 The Father exercised authority over every detail of Scripture when it was beyond the power of His Son to exercise choice.

The soldiers therefore came, and broke the legs of the first man, and of the other man who was crucified with him; but coming to Jesus, when they saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs…For these things came to pass, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, “Not a bone of him shall be broken.” John 19:32-36

The crucified was watched, according to custom, by a party of four soldiers, John 19:23, with their centurion, Matthew 27:66, whose express office was to prevent the stealing of the body.  This was necessary from the lingering character of the death, which sometimes did not supervene even for three days, and was at last the result of gradual benumbing and starvation.  But for this guard, the persons might have been taken down and recovered, as was actually done in the case of a friend of Josephus.  Fracture of the legs was especially adopted by the Jews to hasten death.  John 19:31  (Smith’s Bible Dictionary)

He overruled and prevented Jesus bones from being broken to fulfill the Passover type of the lamb.  Exodus 12:46  He overruled the timing of the death of His Son, as well as the length of time those final hours of suffering would entail.  Jesus final breath was taken on the ninth hour.  Mark 15:33  The ninth hour corresponds to 3:00 in the afternoon, the hour of the evening sacrifice and the time when the Passover Lamb was slain.  Jesus died far more quickly than others undergoing the same death.  So we see the Father’s power to limit the hour of darkness, to direct the details, and to limit the amount of time His Son would suffer to what was absolutely necessary to fulfill His purposes.  It is also possible that Jesus, knowing the timing of His Father, voluntarily stopped breathing, “gave up his spirit” (John 19:30) knowing that all the suffering foretold was fulfilled at the ninth hour when the evening sacrifice was offered.

I sought the LORD, and he answered me; and delivered me from all my fears. A righteous man may have many troubles but the LORD delivers them from them all. He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. Psalm 34:4, 19-20

There is no moment beyond His power to deliver.

Our Father is able to overrule for us also, in the extremity of challenge and adversity.  He is able to limit the powers of darkness, to direct details and to limit the amount of suffering to what is absolutely necessary to fulfill His purpose in us.

May we surrender, as Jesus did, to the timing, duration and severity of our refining and trust that the Lord’s deliverance is at work and nothing is beyond that powerful deliverance, even in the darkest hour.

May we make the choice to drink the Cup poured for us, in honor of the strength and devotion of our Precious Savior and rely on the unfailing love and commitment of our Father to overrule what is beyond our choice.

I will take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people. Psalm 116:14-15

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