Please enjoy these devotions from a series published in 2016 by Martin Luther College entitled "Searching Questions from Christ's Passion."

“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for
all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Matthew 26:52-54)

December 21, 2012, was a date that not a small
number of people looked forward to with fear. Not
only was it the shortest day of the year, but according
to one interpretation of the Mayan calendar it was
the day the world would end. Some people lost their
heads completely, doing everything from traveling to
mountains in order to best experience the end to trying
to overthrow communism around the world. Obviously,
like every other apocalypse prediction, this one did not
pan out.

During Holy Week, we know exactly what we are
looking forward to. The Lamb of God will be led to the
slaughter and will offer himself willingly in our place.
His disciples didn’t understand it. And while you and
I can read exactly what happens, it’s still so easy to lose
our heads about it. I have found myself asking why it
had to happen. Why did an all-powerful God have to
die to complete his plan? I can think of ways that I think
are better. Why couldn’t God? Even when Jesus asks
his question—“But how then would the Scriptures be
fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”—I still
don’t understand why God’s plan had to include his own
suffering and death.

We don’t have answers to every “why” question. But
we can answer with certainty why God chose the plan
he did. Quite simply, there is not a better plan. The
alternative plans we try to come up with may work in a
perfect world. But this is not a perfect world. If it were, there wouldn’t need to be a plan in the first place. So to remedy this imperfect world, God came up with a perfect plan.

In the days leading up to Good Friday, our Savior knew what was going to happen. There was no doomsday prediction or set date on the calendar that everyone knew about. But this date had indeed been on the calendar from eternity. Jesus knew what was going to happen in the Garden of Gethsemane—that he would be handed
over to his death—but he was not going to lose his head.

Instead, he reminded his disciples of the plan they had been told about many times. He reminds us of the plan we also have been told about. And we have the joy of knowing that this plan is complete—that even as Jesus gives up his body to death, he likewise gives his body and blood for our life. Today, as we celebrate the institution of the Lord’s Supper, we find in the true body and true blood the fulfillment of the plan put in place from the beginning of time: Christ’s death means our life.

Lamb of God, you are our perfect sacrifice. Lead
us to confess our lack of appreciation for your
perfect will and for your suffering. Open our
hearts and fill us with your love and forgiveness,
found only in you. In your name we pray. Amen.

--Rev. Isaac Crass