For Christians, the death and resurrection of Jesus is the pivotal event in history which changed everything. It was God’s plan to save us by allowing Jesus to take the punishment for all we had ever done and would ever do. When we read the gospels and the words of Jesus, we read it in this light and it is easy for us to understand God’s plan because we have the benefit of perspective.
For those that encountered Jesus during his life, however, it was a different story. Everyone, including the disciples, thought that the Messiah’s mission was to save them from the current occupation by the Romans. After all, during the times of the judges, God had raised up individuals to save them from their current oppressors, such as the Philistines, and everyone thought that this was what God had for them this time.
It is not surprising, then, that when Jesus was arrested, tried and then crucified, some people even up until the end thought that Jesus was going to be saved himself. After all, how can you save anyone after you’re dead?
About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” (Matt 27: 46-49)
This can be compared to a movie when the hero is about to be defeated by the villain and it looks like everything is lost, but at the end the hero recovers, defeats the enemy and saves the day. We expect a happy ending and this was the case for those watching the death of Jesus. They thought, “This is our Messiah. He can’t possibly die. That just can’t happen.”, so when he did they must have been dumbfounded at this unexpected turn of events.
We have our expectations of how we think things should turn out in our lives when God is involved, and when it doesn’t, we can be disappointed and our faith can waver. When this happens, God is expecting us to trust him with all and every circumstance. He can see the big picture and he knows the end from the beginning. God’s ways are higher than our ways and this is true when things appear to go badly. It was God’s plan all along for Jesus to die because he had a much higher purpose than just rescuing the Jews from their current set of circumstances.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Is 55: 8-9)
God requires us to trust Him with our disappointments. Deposit yourself with God and thank Him regularly that He is in control. When doubt and confusion threaten, you will have to say repeatedly, “God, I don’t understand this and why this has happened. It really hurts and I wish it didn’t, but I give it to you to make something good out of it. I believe that even now you are working to turn this around in ways I can’t see now, but will do later on”.
“What was intended for evil, God intended for good”. (Genesis 50:20)