According to Plan

October 13, 2020

Luke 24

“Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Luke 24:27 (NLT)

Big Idea: The Son of Man fulfilled all of history when He conquered death. 

There is a 3-year-old little girl in our church who can tell a story for a long time. A. Very. Long. Time. The problem is that the story has neither beginning, nor middle, nor end, nor point. Once you have made eye contact, your only hope is that she will become too worn out or distracted to continue. Kidding aside, it is cute when she does it (the ringlets help). Some adults who similarly tell stories are less so, but it is downright tragic that some people think history itself is such a jumbled mess. With Macbeth, they believe that the whole human experience is “a tale/told by an idiot/full of sound and fury/signifying nothing.” To many of our loved ones, life is either an endless cycle or meaningless chaos, but certainly not a story. The Bible presents a very different picture. Everything which has ever been lies in the hand of an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving God, who was bringing it all toward the moment when Jesus’ disciples found nothing.

This story has a beginning: God created the world in total perfection and gave it to humanity to govern and enjoy. It has a crisis, where the love of the Creator is rejected, and a rebellion commences. Then there is the climax! And what a finale it is. The Creator becomes a Man to endure the punishment that the rebels deserved, laying His life down and rising from the dead to serve as the bridge back to our Lord. Finally, the conclusion when the risen Savior ends the world’s suffering once and for all, restoring the paradise He always intended. 

Like the first time you read or watch a mystery, there are undercurrents and hints you do not notice initially. But once you see them, it is clear that the whole story is working together in perfect harmony. When Jesus rose, He opened the Scriptures (Luke 24:27) and the minds of the disciples (Luke 24:25) so they could see how He was at the center of it all. Everything in the Old Testament – everything in the world – had been working toward that moment. All that was left was for them to respond.

What is true for the universe is true for our individual lives, too. You are not a random collection of events. The pagan philosopher Epictetus, writing in the early second century, had it better than Shakespeare: “Remember that you are an actor in a play, which is as the playwright wants it to be.”[1] God has orchestrated the details of your life in a story that centers on Him. No suffering or pleasure is wasted; it is all according to plan.

Discussion Idea: What is your favorite Old Testament story? How does it point to Jesus?

Prayer Focus: Many in our world are grieving and trapped by fear. Pray for the comfort that only Jesus’ life can provide. If you know someone grieving, mention them by name, and pray they will see that Jesus is still the climax of the story.

[1] Epictetus, Handbook, tr. Nicholas White (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1983), section 17, p. 16.