What’s the starting point for a building? Ground Breaking? Clearing land? Laying the foundation? Drawing up blueprints?
When we sat down with our architect to discuss our new building, the first thing he asked was: what will it be used for? The starting point for a building isn’t the ground breaking, clearing land, laying the foundation…it’s not even the day the architect takes up his pen to begin to draw. The building began when we prayed and sensed God wanted us to expand our ministry potential. I see that potential every day.
What’s the starting point for Easter?
Palm Sunday? When Jesus was arrested? When He was crucified? At His resurrection? What if the purpose for Easter was an integral part of creation itself?
Before God spoke a word of creation, He had a purpose. Out of that purpose came the details of creation. And that purpose was an expression of who He was.
Being a God whose name is glorious, when people spoke of God they described characteristics worthy of an amazing, Almighty God. Loving, merciful, just, caring, intentional, powerful, present, knowing, sovereign, true, righteous, faithful, good. But the characteristic that He most uses of Himself is HOLY.
Holy means: set apart, separated, sanctified. It makes you think of the word whole, complete. What He is, He is completely. It included His person, presence, or purposes.
Person: He is holy, holy, holy. None is holier than He is.
Place: Wherever God is, is Holy. A Heaven, A people, a room, a life.
Purpose: What He does flows out of Who He is. Holiness is the context out of
which He does what He does.
In Genesis 1, after each section of creation, He framed that moment with the words: it was good—meaning it matched His design in an excellent way.
But after He created mankind He said it was very good—most excellent, making mankind the high-point of His creation, meaning we were the reason He created the world in the first place.
Good—It matched His design. What was that design? Then God said, "Let Us make man [plural-mankind] in Our image, according to Our likeness; God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Gen 1:26-27)
Did “Out of His own image” mean man would look like God looked? How about that which characterized God would characterized man?
They said of Jesus: And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (Jn 1:14) He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature… (Heb 1:3) Jesus showed the likeness of God—reflecting that which characterized God.
But Jesus was also the prototype of what the people of God were to look like. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; (Rom 8:29)
Predestined – we are intended to, were designed to - reflect that same holiness, just as Jesus did.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. (Eph 1:3-4)
There you go. There is God’s plan. He wanted a holy and blameless people who would live in unbroken fellowship with Him. He created a whole world for this purpose.
Somewhat funny: Satan thought he could foul up God’s plan by tempting Eve. But Satan can’t do anything that stops God’s purpose being completed.
From a book: Ultimate Intention, DeVern Fromke wrote: One morning I went to the back door to call our three-year-old son. I planned for him to go with me to town on an errand. As I opened the back door to call him, I saw him—but what a predicament he was in! The little fellow had been playing in the garden and had fallen in the mud. So as I called him it was now with a two-fold purpose: there was the overshadowing purpose—taking him to town with me, but there was also the incidental need of “washing up” which must be incorporated into the purpose. I must first minister some cleansing so that my purpose could be fulfilled.
The dad didn’t run out to Home Depot and get material to quickly build a bathroom so he could clean up his son. It was already in place. Though the son got sidetracked, the dad’s goal remained the same and the means to that goal was already in place.
What’s the goal? Unbroken fellowship with us.
The challenge: sin. The solution: Easter. All in the same plan.
Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:1-2)
Author – archégos – Architect – one who designed the plan of faith
Perfecter – one who completes the plan of faith, brings it to its completion
Jesus has always been both—the designer and the provider—which means God’s plan included
Easter even before there was a person who needed saving.
It wasn’t an afterthought, a secondary plan to fix a problem man created, or a moment in Jesus’ life that got out of control, or a plot by the Jews to get rid of Jesus.
I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father." (Jn 10:11, 17-18)
So, now, it makes sense when Jesus said: 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (Matt 25:34)
A real relationship with God has been prepared for us since before time itself, waiting for us to claim it by faith.
He predestined us [pre-determined within the purpose He set before creation] to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will [unbroken fellowship], according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to a plan suitable to the fullness of the times [as seeing a plan scheduled for its appropriate time], that is, the summing up of all things in Christ [I am the way], things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance [a registered guarantee of the promises of God], having been predestined according to His purpose [predetermined that this was the plan] who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory [to make His name glorious]. (Eph 1:5-12)
Could Jesus’ death have been prevented? No. To prevent Jesus’ death you would have had to go back beyond creation and change the whole plan.
- God planned for Easter when He was formulating the idea of creating the world.
- He knew man was going to mess up and need a Savior so He placed within His plan the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
- You and I were included within that plan: wanting unbroken fellowship with God and needing a Savior to make it possible.
- Had we been the only people alive at the time of Jesus’ death, though we would have been the ones to crucify Him, He still would have died for us.
Had I been the only person alive at the time of Jesus’ death, though I would have been the one to crucify Him, He still would have died for me!