At that hour, Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day, I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
(New Revised Standard Version)
I like plans. The big joke for those who know me is that I like to have a plan, a backup plan and a backup plan for the backup plan. When planning a trip, I like to know where I am going and at least two or three different ways to get there, but I always start with the destination in mind.
Sometimes, no matter how much I plan, things don’t go accordingly, and so I constantly remind myself I need to be flexible when things don’t go the way I have planned for them to go.
I think I must have a lot in common with Jesus’ disciples. They had great plans for Jesus to take over as their ruling king and for there to be peace in their country at last. But as we get to Good Friday of Holy Week, we remember that things did not go according to their plans. No matter how great our plans may be, God’s plans are greater than ours. They had planned for Jesus to be the earthly King of the Jews so they could be delivered from oppression, but as we remember the events of today, Jesus became the king who died for humanity so all might have eternal life. John tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
It’s amazing to me that two little words, “so that,” can mean so much.
God had a plan and a purpose for sending Jesus to die for the sins of humanity, and that plan is so we can have eternal life with God and a renewed relationship with the one who created us. Last week, I went to a workshop on the book “Bearing Fruit” by Lovett Weems and Tom Berlin. Lovett talks a lot about the importance of the words “so that” in the Bible, and how everything we do should be done with a purpose which should fall in line with the Great Commission that Christ gave us: To go into all the world and make disciples of Jesus Christ so that the world might be transformed into the Kingdom of God.
God made a plan for us that includes us being in relationship with God, and as John tells us, God loved us so that God sent Jesus to live and die for us so that we might have eternal life, fulfilling the plan that God has for each of us.
We should live our lives in such a way so that everything we do is to the end of making disciples of Jesus Christ so that the world might be transformed through Christ.
This week, as we remember Christ’s sacrificial love for us as he died on the cross and rose in victory from the grave so that we might have life, let us also remember that we are given such a great gift of God’s love “so that [we] may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as [we] bear fruit in every good work and as [we] grow in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:10)
What fruit are you bearing each day so that others might know Christ?
Rev. Jan McCoy is the associate pastor of Covington First United Methodist Church in downtown Covington. She may be reached at email@example.com or at covingtonfirst.org.