Did you know that the cross of Christ was always God's plan from the very beginning? It wasn't a reaction to mankind's rejection of His Son, nor was it an accommodation to a Roman and Jewish miscarriage of justice. It was according to "the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23). Today we will take a journey back and connect the dots of God's unfolding plan of the cross throughout the ages.
"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" John 20:31.
Believe:879 is an epic journey through the book of John led by Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary of Albuquerque. As we explore each of the 879 verses of this gospel, we'll grow in grace and in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. From His pre-incarnate existence, to His public ministry, through His death and His resurrection we'll traverse familiar territory and embark on new adventures of faith.
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Publications referenced: Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan; The Passion of the Christ (2004) Mel Gibson
Cross References: Genesis 22; Numbers 21; Psalm 22; Isaiah 52-53; Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 1:21; Matthew 3:7-15; Matthew 3:16; Matthew 4:9; Matthew 4:10; Matthew 16:13-23; Matthew 17:22; Luke 2:11; Luke 24:16-27; John 1:29; John 3:14; John 3:16; John 7:30;
Keywords: prophecy, suffering Servant, predestination, foreknowledge, cross, ordained
Are you ready? Then let's talk to God. Lord, it's very comforting as we address You, realizing that You know everything that we would ever say, anything we would express to You. You know even deeper than our words. You know our thoughts, even deeper than our thoughts. You know the true motives of our life. And Lord, You will all know exactly what we need. Because of that, we talk to You. We pray to You. We tell You that we're dependent upon You and that we need You and that we need You to revive us, to refresh the memory that in some cases has been lost, has calloused when we hear things about your Son's suffering and death. For others of us, it's just new material. And Father, I pray that You would use the study today to draw us closer in relationship to You, in appreciation of You and in respect for one another, because of You. We're Your family, we have all been redeemed by the same sacrifice. We've been cleansed by the same blood and makes none of us better than anyone else. We all stand equal at the foot of this cross. So help us Lord as we muse over the setting slowly, deliberately to be more mindful and grateful in Jesus' name. Amen.
We all know what billboards are. You go by them when you drive on the freeway. Those are those outdoor structures that are meant to advertise a product or a statement. I saw four that stick out on my mind as I was on my way to church here. One billboard was of a musician who's coming to town. The other billboard was of a lawyer who is already in town. The third was a casino not far out of town and the fourth that sticks in my mind was a billboard to buy a watch that they think you need to buy and wear.
Sometimes and I'll show you examples on the video boards here, but sometimes advertisements can be clever like this one. That's clever to put a guy who needs to lose a little weight on the end of a billboard and slanted like that. Other billboards are -- well look at this one, they're political. You drive by that and you'd get the point pretty quickly. Other billboards are spiritual billboards. I don't know if you can read that, but can you read that? It says, "Well, you did ask for a sign, signed God." So you have a sign. Other billboards are not so subtle, that's sobering as you drive by. It says, "Hell is real."
And finally, there are billboards that when they're up you wonder, "What on earth were they thinking to even put that up?" It's upside down. It says, "If you can read this, you've just had an accident." I don't think that's very cool, do you? There's a billboard that God has displayed throughout the centuries on the pages of the scripture, it's called the cross. It's that one message He has been advertising throughout the corridors of time. He's announced it on the lips of His prophets and His preachers, the message, the billboard of God throughout all of eternity is that God loves the world.
For God so loved the world that He gave His own Son. We are introduced to this thought as the banner billboard truth of God throughout the ages in two verses in John Chapter 19. So turn with me to John 19 and look at Verse 23 and 24 and yes, those are the only two verses we will cover. That's because there are certain scenes that we dare not move through to quickly and this is one of them. "Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments, and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic: now, the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece."
They said therefore among themselves, "Let us not tear it, but let us cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled which says, they divided My garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots, therefore the soldiers did this things.'" Immediately in these two verses were introduced to a thought that the cross was in anew, unexpected event, but that God had anticipated it throughout history, because it was quoted in a Psalm, the event itself. Somebody once said and I remember the saying, "No other religion has at its heart the humiliation of its God." I would only add to that and say that no other religion has anticipated in advance the humiliation of its God and made that the very focal point of all that it is about.
We're introduced to that thought here. I saw a painting many years ago, I still recall it. It's a painting of Jesus standing in the carpentry shop at Nazareth. He's an adult by this time. He has laid down His tools in the shop. He is facing a window through which the sunlight, the afternoon evening sunlight is filtering through. In the picture, Jesus is looking up toward heaven with His hands raised. The sunlight is coming through, hitting Him and casting a shadow on the back wall of the carpentry shop. And if you look at the shadow, it looks like the perfect form of a cross and a man on it.
The point of the painting as you study it is that, the shadow of the cross was cast throughout the very life of Christ. The question is how far back does that shadow go? How deep and how long does that shadow run? I want to explore that with you today. Now, we look at these two verses and we discover the soldiers divided Jesus' garments. Why did they do that and why is it written? That was a Roman custom and a Roman law that before a man was executed by way of crucifixion that he was stripped completely bare, it was the ultimate and final humiliation and that the garments of the prisoner would become the property of the soldiers. That was a Roman law.
The executioners would own any belongings that that victim had. They would divide them. The executioners, the soldiers regarded the clothing or the possessions of Christ as their spoil, their keep, their earn and so they took them. Now, how many soldiers were they? Do you remember we told you last week and the week before, there were four. And that was given the name, quaternion. A quaternion was a squad of four soldiers. But, the average Jewish male wore five pieces of clothing, an outer robe, below that a tunic, a belt, sandals and a turbine or a head cover.
There are four soldiers, five pieces of clothing. Each soldier got one piece, the fifth piece the tunic, they decided to throw dice(ph) for, cast lots for it and they would decide who would get it. These soldiers were hardened men. They had to be. They fought wars. They quelled riots. They have killed many people like they were killing Jesus at this point. You got to be a pretty hardened individual, to not only take a dying man's possessions, but before he's dead, they gamble for them at the foot of where he can watch the whole event at the foot of the cross.
But the point of including these two verses isn't just to speak of human hatred and human revulsion, but rather divine anticipation. That is why John says, "All of this was done that the scripture, Psalm 22 might be fulfilled." What John is showing you is that this cross casts a long shadow all the way back to David who wrote about it. Psalm 22, an amazing piece of literature. When David penned some Psalm 22, he knew nothing about crucifixion hadn't been invented yet. But in vivid detail, in Psalm 22, David writes about the exhaustion, the physical torment of crucifixion, the unnatural position of the body during crucifixion, the raging thirst that ensues, nails that go through the hands and through the feet several incredible details that could've only been known in the mind of God and then revealed to David. And that's why John makes mention of it.
So today, I want to take a journey with you based on these two verses. Let's see how far back that shadow goes. And I'm going to walk back with you from the cross backward through time. First off, it was Jesus himself who predicted His own death. I just want you to imagine what that would be like. To live knowing exactly when you were going to die and exactly how you were going to die. Imagine what that would be like to live with that knowledge. On six different occasions in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus predicted His death. Three more times in the Gospel of Mark, then you have Luke and John. It's all recorded.
I'm going to take you back, if you have a Bible and you care to turn them. I'm going to take you to a few places today, the 16th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew if you don't have a Bible or you forgot yours or you simply don't want to turn, no problem. I understand. I've cheated. I pre-marked my Bible. Matthew 16, it's a famous setting. Jesus asks His disciples two questions. Peter gets the A on the test. The questions are, who the man say that I am? The second is. Who do you say that I am? Peter gets it right when he says, "You're Christ, the Son of the living God."
Now, I think Peter feels the freedom to speak up, because he got an A on the test. It doesn't go so well for him in the second round. In Verse 21 of Matthew 16, "From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You." Again, I think Peter felt in bold and in power to speak up and say, "Lord we've got this one covered. We're going to protect You, not going to happen You."
He did not expect what He's about to hear. Verse 23, "But He turned, He, Jesus turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are an offence to me. You are not mindful of the things of God, but of the things of men." Oops! Ouch! There were more times if you just turn the page to Chapter 17 of Matthew if you're there, different place this time. Verse 22, "Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, 'The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.' And they were exceedingly sorrowful.'"
Death was Jesus' constant companion. He knew how, He knew when, He knew where, He told them. He predicted His own death. The shadow of the cross fell upon His path every single day. And just try to imagine what that is like. If you knew when and where you would die and how, you would live differently. You would live a very focused life, a very intentional life and that's important to realize, because there's a lot of scriptures that won't make sense unless you realize that. For example, in John Chapter 7, it says, "They, the rulers sought to take Jesus, but His hour had not yet come." So they didn't take Him.
In John Chapter 13, John begins, "And Jesus knowing that the hour had come for Him to depart from this world and go to the Father, girded Himself with a towel and started washing His disciples' feet." Or John Chapter 17, "As Christ prays, 'Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your son may now glorify You.'" Or John Chapter 12, "As Jesus tells His own men, He says, 'And now My soul is troubled; and what shall I say, Father, save me from this hour? No: for this very cause I have come to this hour.'" So, we're dealing with somebody who predicted his own death, knew exactly where, knew exactly when and lived with that constant knowledge. That was his focus.
And because that was His focus, Jesus regarded as any suggestion to move Him away from that focus as being satanic. That's why he said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan. You're not thinking like God thinks, you're thinking like men think." Actually, when Jesus heard Peter say, "Lord, Lord, this is never going to happen to You."
It was as if Jesus was thinking, "I've heard that voice before. I know where that voice is coming from. That's coming from Satan." Because it was Satan, who suggested the same thing while Christ was being tempted 40 days and 40 nights out on the wilderness. The Bible says, "Satan appeared to Him and showed Him all the kingdoms of this world then their glory." And Satan said, "All of this, I will give to You if You'll just bow down and worship me. Just give me a momentary pleasure, indulged me just worship me for a second. I know why You have come, I know what you came for. You came to buy this world back, redeem this world. I'll give it to You. You don't have to go the way of the cross. You don't have to suffer. You don't have to shed Your blood. Just worship me and I'll give it to You."
Jesus said, "Away with you, Satan." And now when Peter is suggesting, "This isn't going to happen to You." Jesus goes, "I recognize that voice. Get behind me, Satan." He regarded anything that would keep Him away from the focus of the sacrifice of the cross as being Satanic. Now, that interest me that the devil, even the devil knew how important the cross was. It was a ladder to heaven, Jesus knew it. Satan knew it.
So, we're considering how far back the shadow goes. Jesus predicted His own death. Now, let's go back a little bit further in time. Not only did Jesus predict his death. Jesus' forerunner predicted his death. The prophet who announce His coming, who is that? I call him John the Baptizer. He really wasn't of any denomination including Baptist at that time. It was just John the Baptizer. It's probably a better term. I've always loved John the Baptist, because he reminds me of a lot of my old friends. I have friends who dress weird and ate weird things. They were hippies and John just sort of reminds me of them. He is sort of that strange guy down by the Jordan River.
He had a singular, denunciatory message, "Repent." It was his first message, "Repent." He got people's attention, a very powerful individual. John the Baptist believed that Jesus was the Messiah. But, John the Baptist only saw Jesus as a living judge, not as a dying savior. John the Baptist, like most Jewish people anticipated the Messiah will come in gloriously and overturn the Roman government and setup shop, setup the kingdom. He did not expect a death at first.
Now I want you to follow me in my thinking. If you were to take the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and what we call harmonize them or give a chronological blow-by-blow rendition of all of the Gospel records, this is how it comes down. Jesus comes to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. After He's baptized, He goes into the wilderness for about six weeks, forty days. After that temptation, He comes back to the Jordan River and sees John again, second time.
So, here's John, he's down at the Jordan River. He's saying, "Repent." And listen to his message. He quotes Isaiah Chapter 4, "Woe unto you, you brute of slimy snakes. Who has warned you to flee from the wrath that is to come?" And speaking of the Messiah, he said, "He's winnowing fan is in his hand and he will thoroughly purge the threshing floor. He will gather the grain into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." It's a fiery preacher, that's hell fire in brimstone. And all of that would be accurate at Jesus' second coming, but not His first.
So here's John bringing a very denunciatory message, but then three things happen. Number one, Jesus comes to the Jordan River to be baptized. Remember John's reaction? He goes, "Lord, Lord this is wrong. I shouldn't baptize You. You should baptize me. You have nothing to be baptized for." But now, he realizes in Jesus' baptism that Jesus has come not to yell at sinners, but to identify with them. So he gets baptized, blows John's mind. Second thing that happens is as he is baptizing Jesus, the heavens open and the spirit of God comes like a, what? A dove, ever wonder why a dove? You say, "Sure, that's all churches in the next 2000 years are going to have doves in the front of their church." No, that's not why.
To John the Baptist, who was the son of a Jewish priest, he would immediately recognize the dove as an animal of sacrifice.
The lamb was the animal of sacrifice but if you couldn't even afford a lamb, if you were the poorest of the poor, you bring a dove. So, first Jesus gets baptized, identifies with sinners. Second, a dove shows up. It tips Him off that a sacrifice is somehow involved. The third thing is that Jesus goes away for six weeks, comes back. And the second time when John sees Him coming to him, he says something very different. He says, "Behold, the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world." What has happened between flee from the wrath that is to come and behold the Lamb of God?
Well, six weeks have happened and I believe that during those six weeks, John went again back to the scrolls of Isaiah from which he had taken his cues. He had been quoting Isaiah throughout his early ministry. And he started reading some of the other passages in Isaiah like, Isaiah 52, Isaiah 53, which says that, "The Messiah he was led as a lamb to the slaughter as a sheep before a cheers of silent." So he opened out his mouth and it clicked. He connected the dots. So as Jesus comes back instead of a denunciation, it's an introduction. And he says, "Look! Behold, the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world!" In that statement, he is announcing a sacrifice is coming. He is predicting the death, the cross of Jesus. He is the Lamb of God, the animal of sacrifice whose blood will take away the sin of the world.
Now, John the Baptist is discovering that this Jesus will do more than all of the proclamations and denunciations of the Law of Moses. If you have never read Programs Progress, the book Programs Progress, please read it at least ones before you die. It is worth the read. Charles Spurgeon read it twice a year. It's an old story written by John Bunyan. The main character of the story is Christian. He has left his hometown called the City of Destruction. He's on his way to the Celestial City. You'd get the picture. It's an analogy of the Christian life.
As Christian starts off, he's got a backpack on. And it burdens him and weighs him down. And the story relates the backpack as his sin and added to the sin is the law telling him he's a sinner. You're bad. You're a sinner. You're wrong. You're this and that. And so, the law mixed with his sins is the burden on his back. So listen to how John Bunyan puts it. And I saw in my dream that as Christian came up to the cross, the burden loosed from his shoulders and fell from his back and began to tumble until it reach the mouth of the sepulchre where it fell in and I saw it no more.
It's a picture of coming to the cross of Calvary, the burden of sin, the denunciation of the law falls off, rolls down into the tomb of Christ risen from the dead and I saw it no more. John is waking up, John the Baptist to that realization. So Jesus predicted the cross. The forerunner of Jesus predicted the cross. Let's go back a little bit further. Let's see how far back the shadow goes before that. At the birth of Jesus Christ, His visitors at the birth also predicted the cross. Now, would you agree that Jesus had a very unusual birth? Not just a fact he was virgin born but the things that were happening around him at that time. I don't know but you but when I was born, nothing remarkable happened.
Well my mom says, "Well, you are born. That's remarkable." But really nothing great in the world, I did a little digging to find out what happened when I was born. Only two things really stand out, number one, the President of the United States and Dwight Eisenhower. Some of you are going "Who?" [Laughter]. So far back it was. Dwight Eisenhower signed into law on the date of my birth that the minimum wage in America should be raised to $1. [Laughter]. Epic huh?
Also, the day I was born a world series was going on. And on my birthday, the Brooklyn Dodgers beat in the World Series the New York Yankees. You're clapping for them? [Laughter]. You go to the birth of Jesus. It's a whole different scene. There are angelic visitors. The sky has been lit up to allow the magi from the east to find the birthplace or the house where Jesus resides. But, the language of these visitors is all predictive of a sacrifice.
For example, what did the angel say to Joseph after he found that Mary was pregnant? He said, "You will call His name Jesus because He will save His people from their sin. He will save His people from their sin." When the angels announced to the Bethlehem shepherds that as Jesus was born he said, "From into you this day in the City of David, a savior is born who is Christ the Lord." All of that language is predictive of somebody who would come as a sacrifice, a savior and pay for sin. Then, those three gifts that were given by the magi to the child Jesus, remember what they were, gold, a gift befitting a king, frankincense, reminiscent of the priest. That's what they use in their sacrifices. The third is a little bit strange myrrh. Myrrh was a gummy substance that hardened and it only gave off a beautiful scent when it was crushed.
Incidentally, myrrh was used in the ancient world to embalm the dead. It was embalming fluid. I'm so sure that if you were a new mom and you just had a baby and somebody gave you a gift for the baby of embalming fluid, you wouldn't be too excited, but all of that was predictive. Why myrrh? When Jesus died, He was wrapped with myrrh, the Bible says. And myrrh was the substance that was placed around the dead person because of the smell of decay and the myrrh would offset that. But as I mentioned to you, they only gave off a scent when it was crushed. What did Isaiah say? Concerning Jesus, he said, "He was bruised for our transgressions, he was crushed for our inequities: The chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and by His stripes we are healed."
All of that was predictive. After Jesus is born, Mary and Joseph were taken to a temple, the temple in Jerusalem to be dedicated to God. As they are there, there's an old man named Simeon, who lifts up his head to heaven and goes, "I can die a happy man. My eyes have seen Your salvation." And then he says to Joseph and Mary, "This child would be assigned that would be spoken against in Israel." And then Simeon pointed to Mary and said, "And a sword is going to pierce your own soul."
We'll read more next week as Mary stands at the foot of the cross. Her heart is broken because her son is giving his life. Jesus predicted His cross. His forerunner predicted His cross. The visitors of Jesus' birth predicted the cross. I don't know what plans you have for your kids but every parent has some plans. Maybe my son will grow up to this or my daughter will grow up to that. But whatever plans you have, your ultimate plan is that they live. Live long. Understand that the whole reason for Jesus' birth was His death. He knew that. The father knew that. Joseph and Mary would come to that recognition as time would go on.
Now, let's step back even a bit further in time from Jesus to the forerunner, to the visitors at His birth, all the way to the prophetic scriptures of the Old Testament. The prophets, the Old Testament writers also predicted the cross. I don't know if you know this but there are about 330 prophesies in the Old Testament predicting what the Messiah would do and be like in the New Testament, 330, where he would be born, what tribe he would be from, where he would grow up et cetera, et cetera, what he would do details about his death, amazing.
The Jewish people had always anticipated there would be a coming Messiah. One of their daily prayers was, "I believe in the coming of Messiah." And even though he said, "Yeah, I will wait every coming day." But what they were waiting for like John the Baptist and like the disciples was a conquering Messiah, not a dying Messiah, not a dying savior. However, the Old Testament scriptures predicted the suffering and death of a Messiah. Now without going back to all, I might just want to take you to one little place.
If you're in John, go back one book to the Gospel of Luke Chapter 24. I want you to take a look at this, at Luke 24. This is after the death of Christ and after His resurrection. He's alive again. He's walking from Jerusalem to a little town called Emmaus, because two disciples of His are also walking on that road. Verse 16 of Luke 24, "But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. And He said to them, "What kind of conversation is that, do you have with one another, as you walk, and are sad?" Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, "Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem?" Imagine asking Jesus that question. "And have you not known the things which happened there in these days?" Can you imagine asking Jesus that question? They're referring to the things that happened to Him. But look at what Jesus says. He said to them, "What things?" [Laughter]. You know why He does that? He knows what things. He wants to hear them say "What things?" So they talk.
The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people. And now the chief priest said, "Our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see."
Now listen to Christ. And then He said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?" And now, here's the verse that and my spirit drool over. And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself. If ever there were a conversation, I wish it would have been recorded. It is the one alluded to in verse 27. Beginning at Moses and all the prophets and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. The first Bible study Jesus gave after He rose from the dead was an expositional prophetic Bible study.
I imagine he took them back to Genesis 22, talk about Abraham and Isaac like we mentioned last week. I imagine he took them the numbers 21, where the snakes were biting all the people and Moses lifted up a serpent on a pole and God said, "Look at that bronze serpent and you will live." And Jesus had said as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, "The Sone of Man must also be lifted up."
I'm sure he took them to Isaiah, Chapter 52 and 53. The suffering servant passage is so clear of the suffering of the Messiah that would come. And I'm sure he took them to Psalm 22, the very Psalm we started with in our reading. Because Psalm 22 begins and opened and closes with two sayings that Jesus uttered while He was on the cross, including, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?" And their eyes started getting open and go, "I get it, I get it, I get it." So here's the deal, those soldiers who were throwing the dice and gambling for Jesus' clothes as hardened as they were a self serving as they were. What's important to understand is that God had anticipated all of that and inspired David to write in detail about it in the 22nd Psalm. That's how far the shadow goes back. Jesus predicted it. His forerunner predicted it. The visitors at his birth predicted it. The prophets predicted it. I'm going to take you to one final place, take you all the way back to see how far that shadow goes and where it started.
So turn with me to Revelation Chapter 13. You go to Revelation. Shouldn't be the other direction, no it shouldn't and you'll see why in a minute. Revelation Chapter 13, now I warn you the 13th Chapter of Revelation is about a guy we call the antichrist not Jesus Christ. But Jesus Christ is mentioned here. You're dealing with an antichrist who will come in the future on the world, saying the world will worship him because he's going to solve all the problems. They're going to give all of their love to all of their allegiance to.
This antichrist is only a temporary ruler as oppose to the eternal ruler Jesus Christ and so they are compared. But I want you to see something very important. Because, if we ask the question how long is the shadow of the cross, that it start with the prophet Daniel, in Daniel 9 when he first predicted that. That goes all the way back to Abraham and Isaac in Mount Mariah in that whole scene. It goes back further than the birth of Christ. It goes Pre-Bethlehem. It goes pre-profit, pre patriarch. It goes pre-creation. The cross was in the mind of God before the creation happened. Verse 7, Revelation 13, "It was granted to him, him being the antichrist to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given to him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.
"All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the book of life of the Lamb." Listen carefully or watch carefully, "The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
Before Jesus ever left heaven to come to this earth to take on a body of flesh, communing with the Father and the sprit to try you God had agreed, this is how it's going to come down. It's not like Jesus is about to live heaven and go into the womb of a Virgin and God the Father said, "Oh, oh before you go one final thing I neglected to tell you. You're going to a cross to finish this whole thing off." There wasn't sprung on him. It was known before the foundation of the world. One of the apostles, Peter wrote in his book First Peter, "We were not redeemed with corruptible things, but by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, a Lamb without spot or blemish indeed He was for ordained before the foundation of the world." That's what Peter said.
So the shadow of the cross, the long shadow who was on the mind and heart of the God head who shared that in part with Abraham and the patriarchs and the visitors at the birth of Jesus and John the Baptist. And Jesus predicted it himself and here we read in John 19, just as David predicted and the other prophets, it happened. Think about it.
The same God who said, "Let us make man in our image, knew that that image would become marred by sin and would require redemption and would have to send his Son to fix that." That's why Charles had Spurgeon. You here me quote him a lot. He said, "I could sum up my entire theology in four words." "He died for me." "He died for me." Always a part of God's plan.
I've got to tie one more bow on this package. Do you know when God picked you to be a son or daughter? If you think, "Yeah, the day I was saved." No. Ephesians Chapter 1 Verse 4, "You were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world." At the same point when God said, "I'm going to send my Son to redeem people, He knew that you would be born and chose you to be one of the redeemed ones." I sure hope the shadow of the cross is falling upon your life that you have basked under its dark shadow to find life. And if not, that today you will realize that God loves you and you will realize in time and in space something that had been chosen by God years ago. As you cooperate with that choice and give your heart and life to Christ.