Who Was in Control, Satan or God?


In our daily meditations, we have been meditating on the events that took place before the crucifixion of Christ:

1Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, 2and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. 3Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. 4And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. 5They were delighted and agreed to give him money. 6He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present (Luke 22:1-6).

The climax to the drama of crucifixion week was drawing close. The ruling religious elite had murder in their hearts toward Christ. To most people, these men appeared to be righteous, and highly esteemed, but in God's eyes, they were held captive by invisible chains. Jesus called them out as servants of Satan, saying to them:

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).

The enemy of our souls might seem to be having his way in the world, but we must remind ourselves that, behind the scenes, God is sovereign over all things and His plan for this world will succeed. The enemy could do nothing to the Lord Jesus until God’s plan allowed it. Later, just before His crucifixion, Christ was brought before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate:

Pilate said, "‘Where do you come from?' he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10‘Do you refuse to speak to me?’ Pilate said. ‘Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?’ 11Jesus answered, ‘You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above’” (John 19:9-11).

The enemy might think he is in control, but only because God has given him enough rope with which to hang himself. God was totally in control of all the drama happening, and He is today, too. Only at the right time would Christ be crucified, not in Satan's timing but in God's perfect planning, i.e., at the very moment the sacrificial lambs were being slaughtered for Passover in the temple.

For example, three years earlier, when Christ’s mother told Him of the embarrassing situation of no wine left at a wedding they were attending, He said to His mother, “Woman, why do you involve me? My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4). There was a certain time ahead for Him, not a chronological hour, but an opportune time when He would greatly glorify the Father by paying the sin debt of all who trust Him. Only when the time was near would Jesus say, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (John 12:23). When Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, He told His captors, “Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns” (Luke 22:53).

Only when God's hour allowed, was the enemy given room to move against Jesus. Darkness could close in, but all that happened was under God's sovereignty. For instance, think of the trouble that was also allowed to come to Job. Satan could do to Job only what God allowed him to do (Job 1:12; 2:6). Even when evil is present, God is still in control, working all things together for His purposes. God's people are to overcome darkness and not be intimidated. In these dark hours before Jesus was arrested, we see how the Father was allowing His plan to unfold. Keith Thomas

Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke. Click on study 58. The Betrayal of Jesus.