April 24, 2023

Greatest Crime, or Act of Love?

Acts 2:22-24

“This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge. . . .”

—  Acts 2:23

Christ’s death was the greatest crime in history. One of his closest followers, Judas, betrayed him for money. The religious leaders paid that money and handed Jesus over to be killed because they envied him. The witnesses who accused him were false. His trial was a blatant legal error. The judge, Pilate, who sentenced him to death was convinced of his innocence but did not want to displease the people.

This greatest crime in history, however, was not an accident, but part of a plan. Jesus was delivered over to death by the determined design and foreknowledge of God.

This fact does not excuse the accusers and perpetrators from responsibility, however. As the apostle Peter put it, “You, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.” This was the dark side of the death of Jesus Christ.

There is another, glorious side as well: Christ’s death was the greatest expression of God’s love—for us and for the whole world (see John 3:16). God sent his one and only Son to save us and give us eternal life. Jesus, the Son of God, gave up his heavenly glory and became human, just like us. And he went willingly to the cross, laying down his life as the sacrifice for our sin.

Lord God, history unfolds at the command of your Word. And Christ’s death was the execution of your eternal plan of love. We thank you and praise your name! In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Hernandes Lopes

Rev. Hernandes Dias Lopes grew up in a Christian home in Brazil. Following his 1981 graduation from Seminário Presbiteriano do Sul in Campinas, Brazil, he served two congregations of the Presbyterian Church in Brazil. In 2000, he earned a doctor of ministry degree from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. Rev. Lopes has been the voice of the television program Verdade e Vida (“Truth and Life”) since 2006. In 2010 he was appointed Portuguese ministry leader for Back to God Ministries International. Rev. Lopes and his wife, Tinha, have two college-age children.

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