Isaiah 25:1; John 1:1-2; Romans 8:28
Jesus’ journey to the cross began long, long ago. It began in the heart of God even before our world came into existence. Jesus’ journey to the cross took him throughout the cities and rural regions of Judea and Galilee. Our Lord crisscrossed these territories, teaching truth in a world choked by false beliefs and phony priorities. Jesus’ journey took him to the cross, where he suffered and died so that you and I can be forgiven, so you and I can have eternal life! Jesus’ journey took him beyond that cross, out through the open tomb, and into the sunrise of the very first Easter morning.
The prophet Isaiah speaks of God’s eternal plan to provide salvation in Jesus when he writes:
O Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you; I will praise your name,
for you have done wonderful things,
plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
Isaiah 25:1 (emphasis added)
The Gospel of John also tells us about God’s eternal plan in Christ Jesus:
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
John 1:1-2 (emphasis added)
Long before Jesus walked the dusty streets of Jerusalem, God—through his prophets—had announced the Savior’s journey to the cross. Generations before Jesus was born into the line of David, God had promised to send his Son to earth to remove the curse of sin, the curse that every human being since Adam and Eve had brought down on ourselves by our rebellion. The Bible reminds us, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
Before God created time, he foresaw Jesus’ journey to the cross. That journey lay at the very center of his sweeping, eternal, cosmic plan to save you, to save me. And to do it all for us, giving his saving grace to us as a free gift: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
God’s plan came together at exactly the right time. Jesus stepped out of eternity and into time, entering Mary’s womb just as the angel had promised—not a minute early, not a second late. Several short months after Gabriel appeared to Mary in Nazareth, a decree went out from Rome, from Caesar Augustus, calling for everyone in the empire to be registered for taxation purposes, as Luke tells us (Luke 2:1-2).
Joseph and Mary traveled together to Bethlehem, their ancestral home. There in Bethlehem—not a minute early, not a second late—Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born, greeted by barnyard animals and dusty shepherds. Heaven touched earth. God’s eternal, cosmic plan had begun to unfold.
God’s plans, however, are not just cosmic plans. God’s great plan of salvation intersects with your very own life and with mine! At just the right time and in just the right way, you have come to know and trust your Savior. Or you are coming to know and trust him right now, as you hear these words.
Entry adapted from Central Territory Lenten Resources