To Show That the Worst Evil is Meant by God for Good
THE FOLLOWING DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT is from John Piper’s book Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die. Through the cross we see how God is able to turn evil into good.
The origin of evil is shrouded in mystery. The Bible does not take us as far as we might like to go. Rather, it says, “The secret things belong to… God” (Deuteronomy 29:29).
The heart of the Bible is not an explanation of where evil came from, but a demonstration of how God enters into it and turns it for the very opposite – everlasting righteousness and joy. There were pointers in the Scriptures along the way that it would be like this for the Messiah.
Joseph, the son of Jacob, was sold into slavery in Egypt. He seemed abandoned for seventeen years. But God was in it and made him ruler in Egypt, so that in a great famine he could save the very ones who sold him. The story is summed up in a word from Joseph to his brothers, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good (Genesis 50:20). A foreshadowing of Jesus Christ, forsaken in order to save.
But the most astounding thing is that evil and suffering were Christ’s appointed way of victory over evil and suffering. Every act of treachery and brutality against Jesus was sinful and evil. But God was in it. The Bible says that “Jesus [was] delivered up [to death] according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23).
The lash on his back, the thorns on his head, the spit on his cheek, the bruises on his face, the nails in his hands, the spear in his side, the scorn of rulers, the betrayal of his friend, the desertion by his disciples – these were all the result of sin, and all designed by God to destroy the power of sin. “Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel [did] whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place” (Acts 4:27-28).
There is no greater sin than to hate and kill the Son of God. There was no greater suffering nor any greater innocence than the suffering and innocence of Christ. Yet God was in it all. “It was the will of the LORD to crush him” (Isaiah 53:5).
This is why Jesus came to die. God meant to show the world that there is no sin and no evil too great that God cannot bring from it everlasting righteousness and joy. The very suffering that we caused, became the hope of our salvation. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
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