In high school, I competed in speech competitions. My senior year of high school I worked crazy hard on this one piece that I was hoping would get me to the national competition. I won the state competition and figured I had nationals in the bag.
As I entered the final round I was confident. Other kids told me how great I was. I was a crowd favorite. I was SURE that I’d at least place in the top three.
As they announced the winners at the closing ceremony that night, my name wasn’t called. I was devistated. Everything I had worked for slipped away. I felt as though I had failed.
Disappointment comes in many forms. From a silly high-school speech competition to not getting the promotion we feel we deserve, we face moments where we don’t understand what God is doing in our lives. We work hard, follow his plan, and make assumptions that our life will turn out a certain way only to have the rug pulled out from beneath our feet. We question whether God’s plan is truly best.
In a way, this is where we find Jesus’ disciples this week in the story we’ll discuss in Discovery Village.
They had followed Jesus for three years. He was not just their teacher; Jesus was their hope for salvation and rescue. And at this point in our story, Jesus is in captivity and awaiting a trial that will send Him to the cross.
This was not the plan. When Jesus told the disciples that He was the savior, the One promised since the time of Abraham, they had a clear idea of how this would go down. The disciples were positive that Jesus would ride in on a giant horse and lead an army to battle against the Romans.
Only what they experienced now was a completely different story.
The mob brought Jesus to Pilate for a trial of sorts. Pilate heard the arguments against Jesus, but when it came time for Jesus to defend himself, he remained silent. Pilate had him beaten hoping that it would make the crowd happy, but he soon realized that the crowd would only be happy if Jesus was crucified. In a last ditch effort to save Jesus, Pilate gave the people a choice to set someone free: Jesus or a known killer. He never thought they’d have chosen the murder. Yet they did. When Pilate knew he couldn’t do anything more. He washed his hands of the situation.
This meant that Pilate would have nothing more to do with this trial. Jesus was given over to the people. Jesus was forced to carry His cross on his back up to Golgotha where he’d be nailed to that cross and crucified.
Jesus died and was placed in a borrowed tomb. I can only imagine how the disciples felt in this moment. Was it anger, despair, fear? Whatever they felt, it was not victorious. In fact, most of Jesus disciples, his closes friends, were nowhere to be seen. In Jesus’ darkest hour, all except for John had gone missing. Jesus died almost all alone and abandoned.
Little did they know at the time, but this was all part of God’s plan.
The last words that Jesus spoke were “It is Finished!” These three words were so important. In His death, Jesus accomplished everything that He came to do. He finished the rescue mission! He lived the perfect life and died the perfect death that we couldn’t.
They had to learn our bottom line the hard way: “God’s plan is always best.”
You know, if I’m being honest, I don’t always understand God’s plan. I do my best to follow what God says and stay the path that He has for me, but sometimes I find myself questioning whether this could really be his plan. Life doesn’t always go the way I want it to, but that doesn’t mean that God isn’t in control. Actually, God is always in control and His plan is always best.
We don’t always see it right away, but eventually we’ll see the pieces fit together. And the masterpiece He’s painting with our life will be more beautiful than we could ever imagine.