The gospel stories tell us something clearly: God has a plan. His plan is perfect. His plan is higher than our plans. And His plan is fulfilled down to the last detail. Matthew 20:17-19; Luke 24:1-6; John 19:23-30.
Speaker(s): Bob Colban
6:30 PM on 4/17/2022
P. Bob Colban – Good evening.
I don’t know if you all thought P. Schaller was going to preach. I snuck out of the back row there
and surprised everybody. If you have your Bibles, turn to Matthew 20. It was a great weekend, a
great week. Really. We’re going to talk a little bit about the play. One of the – I saw it online
Thursday night and then we were here in the chapel Friday night. There were so many things I
took away from the play, and I’ll mention a few of them as we speak tonight.
One of the themes that I picked up personally was this idea that it had to happen this way. That
was kind of brought out in numerous parts of the play. God had a plan and it had to happen a
certain way. I want to talk a little bit about that in the beginning part of the message here. In
Matthew 20:17, I want to jump around a little bit in the beginning and really I just have four simple
points that I’d like to make tonight.
Matthew 20, obviously is before Christ was taken in the garden, before Christ was taken before
Pilate, before Christ was taken before the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees. It is before Christ was
then ultimately given over to the Romans. It is before he was put on the cross. It is before he
died on the cross, and it is before he was resurrected. This all occurred before this happened.
I’ve been reading and I’m sure many of you have been doing the same thing over the past
week. Reading the accounts of the crucifixion and the resurrection, and there’s always
something fresh, something new that you see. I love this portion here, Matthew 20:17-19. We know
this. We know this. We know the story.
I just find this amazing that he said this in such, so specifically to them. You’re walking up the
road with the disciples heading up to Jerusalem and he says hey, guys. I have something I’d like
to tell you. I will be betrayed unto the chief priests and scribes. I will be condemned to death.
They will hand me over to the Gentiles. I will be mocked and scourged. I will be crucified and on
the third day I shall rise again. It almost sounds like somebody giving an account after the fact.
After all these things have taken place and someone says, what happened in Jerusalem? Well,
he was betrayed and this happened and this happened and this happened. But all of this
occurred prior to. He spoke so specifically. He didn’t say hey, something is going to happen to
me in Jerusalem. I’m not really sure. We’ll see how it plays out. He was so specific. Betrayal.
Condemned by the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees for no reason. Condemned by Pilate for no
reason. Pilate said, why? What has this man done? Given over to the Gentiles. Mocked.
Scourged. Crucified. And then he said on the third day I will rise again.
When you think about it, him speaking this prior to all this happening. Now, turn over to Luke
24 if you will. Now we are reading the events of the morning of the resurrection. Chapter 24:1-
5, this is one of my favorite verses in the Bible, vs. 5. They go into the tomb. They see these two
men. They are perplexed. They went to the tomb to do what? To prepare the body. They had
done it quickly on the Sabbath but they went back with ointments and spices and things
expecting to find the body in the tomb and wondering how they would get in there. They come.
The tomb is open. They walk in. Where is he? Two men say, “why seek ye the living amongst
the dead?” Wow! What a statement. “Why seek ye the living amongst the dead?” “He is not
here but he is risen.” I love the way – and I don’t want to read into this too much, but I like the
way this is said. This is almost kind of, you know, he is not here. He is risen. Why are you looking
for the living amongst the dead? He is not here. He is risen. Vs. 6-8. In Matthew’s account of
this, he says it this way. “He is not here; he is risen as he said he would.” I like that. “As he said
he would.” And didn’t we just read what he said in Mt. 20 exactly what would happen and here
we are seeing it come to pass and they kind of say it like nonchalantly, “as he said he would.”
Now, switch over to John. 19. Now Jesus is on the cross.
We’ve kind of stepped back a bit. John’s account of Jesus on the cross. Vs. 28. First I want to read vs. 24, 28-30. What am I trying to say? What are these verses saying here? This is the interesting part. I want to – because Jesus said
something interesting that kind of sparked my interest. Vs. 28. Think about this. You’re dying on
the cross. You’re the Son of God. You’re dying on the cross. In your mind you say all things have
been accomplished. The last thing that he says here before it is finished is “I thirst.” I thought
that’s kind of an odd thing to say. Like “I thirst.” You’re about to die for the sins of the world
and you say, “I thirst.” And I thought about it. It says here that all things had to be
accomplished. It means like there was something else that had to be done, and what was the
something else that had to be done?
He needed to say, “I thirst.” It seems like kind of a trivial kind of a – and of course he was thirsting. He’s dying. His body was screaming in agony. Of course. We know that. But he makes the point to say, “I thirst.” And it just seems like an odd
thing but in order for everything to be accomplished, he had to say, “I thirst.”
Psalm 69:20-21 speaks about the fact that he says “I thirst” and they give him vinegar and gall.
So that verse would not have been fulfilled if he didn’t say, “I thirst.” And then the next verse,
vs. 29. The last thing that had to happen, he said “It is finished” and he bowed his head. He
gave up his spirit. The word “finished” is interesting. I thought I knew what it meant exactly. I
heard it, read about it a little bit. But in Strong’s Concordance or in Strong’s Dictionary it said
something interesting and I just want to read this.
It’s the word TELEO. It’s the same word for accomplished. It’s the same exact Greek word. All things being accomplished, TELEO. It is finished. TELEO. It means “to bring to a close,” but it also means this: “to carry out the context of a command. To do it just as commanded until it is completed.” Isn’t that interesting?
Another part of the definition is “to perform, to execute, to complete and fulfill so that the
thing done corresponds to what exactly the command was.” Very interesting, isn’t it? Kind of an
interesting definition. In other words, everything had to be done very specifically. Everything
had to be done in detail.
Exactly as it had been commanded it needed to be fulfilled, so that
when he shouted, “It is finished,” he meant I have done every detail that the Father has put
before me. Finished and done exactly as it had been commanded.
Do you know what this means? Back before the earth was even created, back before the
foundation of the world, Jesus is the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. Then when
the world is created starting in Genesis 3 all the way through to this point in time, the prophets
had spoken and given little hints about what was going to happen when Messiah came. So
many prophecies that had been given and a plan was created even before that, before the
foundation of the world. They sat down and said, okay. Man is going to fall. What are we going
to do? Here is the plan. This is exactly how it’s going to go. We are going to have over 6, 7, 8,
10,000 years the prophets will give pieces of it and Jesus said I will fulfill it exactly as it is
So, when he shouts, “It is finished,” it means this plan that started before the foundation of the
world has now been brought to a completion. Finally. It’s all accomplished. Wait a second. I’m
reading into this a little. I don’t want to say that Jesus forgot something. Don’t take it that
literally, but it’s almost like all things have been accomplished. I need to say one last thing. “I
thirst.” Now, it is finished. Nothing is left undone. God’s plan – this is what I took out of the play
– God’s plan. It all had to happen. We would look at it and say God, I don’t get it. I don’t get this
part of the plan or I don’t understand this.
Lord, when they were – this is man’s thinking. God,
when they were mocking you and saying come down off that cross. You saved others; why
don’t you save yourself? And P. Schaller said this morning, what would you say to that? And he
said, nothing. Why? Because Jesus in his mind is thinking – listen to this. If he comes down off
the cross to save himself, then he can’t save anybody else. Nobody else. He can only save
himself and never save another human being. But man says show us that you are God. Show us
that you are the Messiah. Come down off that cross. Save yourself. That will prove to us. As
pastor said this morning, it will not. It will not. And Jesus in his mind says I can’t come down
because then I could save nobody.
Man says this is crazy. We always want to interject our thoughts into God’s plan and say you
know what, God? You have a good plan but I have a better one. I have a better one. This is the
way that we think and we evaluate God. I read a – excuse me. It’s that moisture sucking
machine. I think it’s on high tonight! Normally during the morning service, it’s on low but I think
it’s on high. I read this – I don’t like to say anything negative, but there was an article in the
New York Times for holy week. It’s Passover and resurrection weekend. This guy said – and I
don’t want to say a lot – but he was so critical of the ways of God to the point where he said
let’s – I forget how he said it. Let’s declare God dead or something like that. He was critical of
how God dealt with the Egyptians.
He was critical about this, what God did in the Bible, what God did here. I’m thinking, who is this guy? I mean seriously. It’s like what did God say to Job in Job 38 after God listens for 36 chapters to these guys talking and then he looks at him and says, Job, Job, I have something to say to you. Where were you, Job, when I laid the foundation of
the earth? Wow! Wouldn’t you just melt into a pile of flesh on the floor? Like God, don’t look at
me ever again! Then he goes, where were you when I laid the foundation? Where were you when I – it’s amazing. Where were you when I said to the waves this far and no further? Who
Who is this guy writing in the New York Times and inditing God for his ways where we see here
this plan that God ordained so long ago, everything about it was perfect. This is maybe I’m
jumping around in my message, but these are my four points. #1. God has a plan. God always
has a plan. God had a plan again for redemption. God has a plan for everything. He does.
Sometimes it’s so hard to see it because one of the things that I love about the way when you
watch a drama about the end times – not the end times – but a drama about the life of Christ.
My wife and I were watching the other night, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Anybody ever seen that?
Yeah, most of the older people raised their hand! How many have ever seen “The Chosen?”
Probably all the young hands go up, right? Of course. Of course.
The whole generational thing. When you see it on the stage in a good movie or whatever, you see people who are in the midst of something. I was thinking of Lazarus. We saw that displayed up here. It was really done so
well. The story of Lazarus and Jesus gets words that Lazarus is sick and he is, whatever it was, I
think two miles away. All of us, I think all of us in here would say the plan has to be God, get up.
Walk your two miles and get there before he dies and make sure that you can pray for him. We
believe you can heal him from his sickness.
Isn’t that logical? The first time I read this story I thought, of course. They got there in time.
Jesus can get there in time. Everything is going to be great. And then you hear that Jesus
decides to stay another couple days. Like seriously? Wait a second, God. The plan should be
this. Again, man injecting his thoughts what he thinks, what we think should be done and telling
Jesus how it should come to pass. God says I have a plan. I have a plan. Well, the plan should be
this. No, I have a plan. I’m going to let him die and then I’m going to raise him from the dead.
That’s my plan.
That’s God’s plan and it’s perfect. That’s #2. God has a plan and his plan is perfect. He could
have gone; he could have done it the way our natural mind says it should have been done. He
could have healed him. And it would have been – to see a man who is sick unto death and be
healed is amazing. But actually, when you read that story, it’s almost like in my Bible the story
kind of ends but then in vs. 45 it says many believed because of what they had seen. God had
something else to do. Yeah, a lot of people believed because they had seen Jesus heal people,
but did they ever see Jesus raise someone from the dead? Many people were touched by it
even to this day. You know when we read the story. So, we say, this is the plan God. This is how
this should happen.
Mary and Martha probably are thinking – well, they didn’t have watches but – whatever. The
sun is going down. I hope he comes. I’m sure he’s going to be here. Before the sun gets over
here or whatever. However, it plays out. They get up in the morning. Their brother is still alive. And they check in. I know he’s coming. I know he’s coming. I know he’s coming and then he
dies. God, I don’t understand this. I don’t understand it. It makes no sense. “If you had been
here” which is a great statement. If you had been here my brother would be alive. But then
Jesus comes like I said and raised him from the dead. My plan. God has a plan. His plan is
All throughout history we have seen that. But here’s the thing for us. When we are in the
middle of that and something is going on in our life, we’re like God, I don’t understand this.
What’s going on? Because we are in the middle of it. It’s so easy for us to read the Bible and
criticize people sometimes and their responses. We preach about Peter and your failures and
denying Christ. Peter, how could you deny Christ? Who here could say that we would not have
denied Christ? We know the end of the story. Okay. This is what happens. Then we look back
and it’s easy for us to criticize or judge or to make judgments upon someone. But Peter was in
the middle of it. In the middle of it, the plan is not quite so clear. In the middle of it, he doesn’t
know what the next thing is that’s going to happen. You picture the whole city going crazy.
The uproar. People going from one place to the other to the other to the other. Peter just cut off
someone’s ear and he put it back on. I mean it’s chaos. Then you look at that and you say,
Peter, how could you do this? How could you?
I loved – David Castro did such a great job. The heaviness that he bore. No matter what people
said to try and encourage him, his thing was I denied the Lord. I was not there for him. I ran
away. Then finally it was all part of the plan. Don’t you understand? Peter is like, no, I don’t
understand. God’s plan is so much higher. That’s point #3. God has a plan. God’s plan is perfect.
And as heaven is higher than the earth in Is. 55, so is God’s plan and God’s ways so much higher
than ours. So much higher than ours. It’s incredible. God is like the master chess player. We’re
like a checker player. Did you ever play chess with someone and it’s like you make one move
and it’s like checkmate! I just made one move? Yeah, checkmate! Next. Somebody that knows
chess versus somebody that plays checkers. There’s no comparison.
That’s like God. Imagine us telling God, like serious, God. You’re plan. I see the plan but I need to tweak it a little
bit here and there. I just want to like – and God says seriously, you know. Like my plan is
perfect. I have a plan. It’s perfect. It’s so much higher than our way of thinking. I bet you
everyone here, we’re all in some sort of situation. We got things going on in our lives. We know
someone who is sick, very sick, and I don’t understand that. Maybe we have financial issues.
God, I don’t understand that. Maybe there’s other things going on in our life that we don’t
understand. We are all in the middle of something. We would all like to tell God the way out of
Well, God, if only – I was driving the other day. Nothing to do with the police! I had worked with
my son in Connecticut. For three days we worked and I’m not as young as I used to be and I was
exhausted. Tuesday night I get in the car and I’m driving home. I’m on the Jersey Turnpike going 65 miles an hour. No, going about 75 miles an hour! But still there’s no police involved in this,
and this is what happens. My legs start to cramp up. My thighs. Did you ever get a cramp up
here in your thighs? I had two of them. At 75 miles an hour and it’s pitch black out and I am like,
God! I need help! I was screaming at the top of my lungs. I’m squeezing my thigh and I’m going
75 miles an hour where the Jersey Turnpike is two lanes. I’m thinking this is crazy. I literally was
screaming God you need to do it right now! And it was – I’ll stop there I guess.
Eventually, I drove for about ten minutes. Do I pull off here? No, if I pull off here I will probably get killed
getting out of the car. I’m walking out of the car like this!! Either that someone would say there
is a crazy guy on the road and the police would come and shoot me! There’s this Frankenstein
monster right around Exit 4. This is the honest truth. Finally, there was a sign for a rest area,
three miles. I said, okay. I can make it three miles. That’s the end of the story. No dramatic
ending. I didn’t drive into a tree or anything.
The point is I am screaming to God for him to do something and nothing happens. We’ve all
been in that situation. God, are you there? Can you hear me? God, I know you have a plan but
this is a better plan, my plan. And God says, no. I have a plan. It’s perfect. It’s so much higher
than anything you can think.
#4. God’s plan will be fulfilled in every detail. This is it. Just like what happened in the plan of
redemption. God had a plan. It was perfect. It was not understood obviously by most people.
Even to that point in Matthew 20 when Jesus said five or six things that were going to happen at the
point of crucifixion. You know, it’s incredible. Betrayed. Tried. Convicted. Mocked. Scorned.
Turned over to the Gentiles. Crucified and then three days rise again. And then “I thirst.” The
last thing that needed to be done. So, this is really – I just wanted to make these four points
about God’s plan because in the middle of it, we don’t understand it. Sometimes things happen.
There’s a good ending. Lazarus gets raised from the dead. I’m sure after the fact they looked
back, Mary, and Martha and Lazarus together and said man.
We didn’t know what was going on for those four or five days. But now, looking back they say, well, God’s plan was amazing. What God accomplished through you dying and being raised from the dead is so much greater than
what could have been accomplished by you getting healed. That’s looking back from here.
We all have these situations. We’re like God, maybe praying for someone that is ill. God, have
mercy on them. I don’t understand it, but God you have a plan. I don’t know what it is. But I
believe that it is perfect. It’s higher. It’s beyond my understanding. And I believe you are going
to fulfill it perfectly. Perfect fulfillment every jot and every tittle. It will be for your glory and it
will be for my benefit. And that’s what kind of like to me part of the story that I took out of the
play. Everything that happened, had to happen for a divine purpose. In closing, in closing, I will
say no more! Let’s just pray.
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