Situations Of His Planning
Take situations as from the Lord, because He has planned your life from all eternity.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing Alright today? Oh, I’m fine, thank you. Happy in the Lord. Well, we’re in the Book of Mark. We’re coming now into the 15th chapter, which is of course the story of the trial, and crucifixion, and death, and burial of our Lord Jesus Christ. I find it difficult to deal with any of these passages routinely. My heart always gets broken when I think of what the Lord Jesus went through for you and for me. They brought our Savior to Pilate and he asked Him, “Art thou the King of the Jews?” This was the accusation, treason, really. Because, you see, Rome was in charge of the Jewish nation, at that point. They had conquered them. They were an occupied territory. And so for somebody to stand up and say, “I’m King of the Jews,” this is treasonous. And the Lord Jesus answered in the affirmative, however. He said, “Thou sayest it.” Now, this is not footwork, verbal footwork, saying, “Well, it’s what you say.” This was an affirmative answer. It’s equivalent to our reply when we want to agree with something and we say, “You said it.” So that He was establishing at that point His claim to the throne of David.
Well, the chief priests accused Him of many things, but He answered nothing. And Pilate said he was surprised, “Answerest thou nothing? Behold how many things they witness against thee.” In another Gospel account, I think it’s John, he said, “How is it that you don’t answer me? Don’t you know I have power to crucify you or power to release you?” And our Lord Jesus said to him, “Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above. Therefore he that delivered me to you hath the greater sin.” The power, small thought here, any power that you have, humanly, any influence that you have, humanly, in your life is granted to you by God. What our Lord Jesus said to Pilate, as recorded in John 19, is true of every one of us, in more or less fashion. “Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above. Therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.” You don’t have anything in a proprietary sense. “What has thou,” Paul asks, “That thou didst not receive?” You and I didn’t originate any of these things which we take for granted. Your mind, for one thing, your gifts and talents and then your influence in the particular situation in which you’re now existing. Never take that for granted, never touch the glory, in other words, give it all to God.
Are you a good executive? Are you the head of a company, or vice president? As some of you are, I know you. Are you a good manager? Are you a good writer? Some of you, dear friends who listen, I know are very competent journalists. Are you a fine professional in the medical field, or the legal field, or the teaching field, as the case may be? Well, use what God has given you, use it to the very best advantage, which does include influence and power and what the world calls clout. You’re not required to be a shrinking violet. You’re not required to put yourself down and downgrade yourself simply because you’re a Christian. You can know who and what you are, but give God the glory. You get the idea there? It’s a very important little thought. I wanted to drop it into your mind so that you start using it as a part of your lifestyle. Use the abilities, and the influence, and the power, and the clout that God may have given you, whatever the arena of life may be in which He has placed you. But, oh, give Him the glory. He’s the one that gave it to you, use it for His glory. “Whatsoever ye do,” He said, “Do it heartily as for the Lord and not just for people. Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for ye serve the Lord Christ.”
So, Jesus still answered nothing, so that Pilate marveled. Now, of course, there’s this story… This is all review. We got through the first 21 verses of Mark 15 the last time we got together. The people asked for Barabbas to be released to them instead of the Lord Jesus Christ. You know, the crowd is always wrong. If you follow the dictum of the crowd you’ll be 99% wrong. Most of the time. “Not this man, but Barabbas. Give us Barabbas. We want a murderer instead of this good man. We want a man who led an insurrection and committed murder in the process, rather than this man who healed the sick, and raised the dead, and caused the lame to walk, and restored sight to the blind. We want Barabbas.” The outcry of the crowd. You wanna be like the crowd, buddy? This is particularly hard for teenagers and college-age young people to whom it’s so important to be like the rest of the gang. You wanna go with the world’s crowd, do you? They’re the ones that choose the murderers rather than the Savior. Barabbas rather than Jesus. The crowd is always wrong.
Now, on the other hand, I’ll have to say this, you can’t fool a crowd either, not for very long. People will not stand to be manipulated for very long. “You may get away,” as Lincoln said, “Some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.” So the obverse side of what I just told you is that you cannot manipulate people constantly and get away with it either. I surmise that many of these folk who were yelling, “Crucify Him,” had second thoughts, after a while, when they began to see the whole scene in perspective. Well, in any case, Pilate, verse 15, willing to content the people, released Barrabas and delivered Jesus. “When he had scourged Him, when he had scourged Him,” five words that contain the essence of physical agony. Scourging. A cat o’nine tails with bone or metal at each tip of the lash and expertly applied, those tips of bone or metal would be drawn right straight through the quivering flesh of the victim. People very frequently died under the scourging. “When he had scourged Him,” beaten, bruised, lacerated, bleeding.
Oh, Jesus, my Blessed Lord, who never did an unkind or wrong thing, who never said a wrong word, who went about doing good, who could say to His accusers, “Which of you convinces me of sin? None of you can convict me of ever doing a wrong thing,” He said one day to the crowd. And the people who were sent to arrest Him one day came back and shook their heads and said, “He hath done all things well,” and now He’s being beaten within an inch of His life because it hath pleased the Lord to bruise Him. He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our inequities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him. And with His stripes, “His stripes,” that’s what Isaiah is talking about, the scourging, “We are healed.” Oh, my Lord, what you went through for me. So when he had scourged Him, he delivered Him to be crucified, and the soldiers led Him away, and they mocked Him. Now comes the purple robe and the crown of thorns and the smiting and spitting and bowing their knees and worshipping Him in mockery. What a bitter, bitter business, the sinless Son of God being mocked by cruel soldiers who had no idea of what they were doing.
Simon the Cyrene was compelled to bear Christ’s cross. I’m sure when he got to be a grandfather, he was telling his grandchildren about that day. How he just happened to come along and how they commandeered him and said, “Hey, you, come here. You gotta carry this.” And he had then to carry that heavy wooden cross for the Lord Jesus on up to Golgotha. Another small thought here as we go along, Beloved, the happenstances of life very frequently turn out to be very, very important. Do you remember the story of the Good Samaritan? By chance, he came down from Jerusalem to Jericho. He was a traveling man and he was going along. And he happened to see this poor fellow who had been mugged, robbed and beaten, lying there in the roadway. And he went to him, had compassion on him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, put him on his own beast and took him to an inn and took care of him. Now, on the morrow, he took out three pence and said to the owner of the inn, “Take care of him, and if thou spendest aught more, when I come again I will repay thee.” He was, Jesus said, the real neighbor. Now, by chance, the priest went by. He just took a look and went on. He was on his way to a citywide meeting. He had to give a speech. He couldn’t take time to help people. The Levite went by, and he was also busy. He couldn’t take time to help people ’cause he had to count the offering, or whatever. It was left for the Samaritan salesman to do it.
Now, Beloved, “Simon the Cyrenian… Simon the Cyrenian,” it says, “Who, coming out of the country,” he wasn’t planning to be there. He was just coming on into the city. But they said, “Hey, you, come on over here,” just like the military would, and compelled him to carry the Savior’s cross. Just by chance, today… Listen to me, Beloved. Just by chance, today, you may get into a situation that you never planned at all. And you would think to yourself, “How in the world did I ever get into this?” Listen, take it as from the Lord, because He has planned your life from all eternity. He chose you from before the foundation of the world. He loves you with an everlasting love, and He knows all your steps known unto God, or all His works, from the beginning of the world. He knows what He wants. It’s said of our Savior, in John 6, “He Himself knew what He would do. Commit thy way unto the Lord. Trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. In all thy ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”
God wants to lead you into situations that are of His special planning. This is what happened to Simon the Cyrenian. He didn’t intend to get mixed up in that tragic occurrence there. But just as he comes into town, and they’re on the way out of town, they said, “Hey, we’ll get that guy to carry the cross.” And there he is next to the Lord Jesus, who walks painfully, having gone through things that would ordinarily kill a person. Already, now, He’s on His way to be crucified, and Simon is walking with Him, walking up the Golgotha way. Which reminds me, then, of Philippians 1:29, “Unto you it is given on the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” There is a sharing, beloved, of what Christ is feeling as you go on through life, and He puts you in situations like that so you can share with Him.
Dear Father, today, may we be like Simon, walking with the Savior and sharing His life. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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