Quinquagesima Week – Sunday
Note: Quinquagesima is the Sunday before Lent. The word means fiftieth, denoting some fifty days before Easter.
For a truth against Thy Holy Child Jesus … were they gathered together, for to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before to be done. – Acts 4:27-28.
Wednesday our Lord came into Bethany with His disciples, enjoying rest and quiet. The chief priests and scribes and elders of the people, however, were not restful and quiet. They assembled in the palace of the high priest Caiaphas and took counsel together that they might subtly take Jesus and kill Him. But they said: “Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people” (Matthew 26:5), And lo, then one of the Twelve, Judas Iscariot, came to them and said: “What will ye give me, and I will deliver Him unto you?” (v. 15a). And they were glad, and “covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him” (vv. 15b-16).
But it was Satan who ruled the elders in their hatred toward Christ, and who had entered into Judas, who was bent on Jesus’ destruction. But Satan and Judas and the Chief Council could only do what God’s hand controlled and what God’s counsel had determined before to be done. Indeed, God ruled amidst the wickedness of man and the enmity of Satan. St. Paul writes that, if the powers of this world had known the mysteries of the Lord’s redemptive wisdom, “they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (I Corinthians 2:8).
But, God wanted to carry out what His gracious counsel determined before to be done, that the Savior should become the Lamb of sacrifice that taketh away the sins of the world. And so, from now on, all things must serve God to the end that you may be saved. The Lord did all of this, guided and controlled all of the things regarding the betrayal, suffering, and death of His Son, for you. It is this God who earnestly exhorts you to commit all things into His keeping. Just as He not only delivered His Son into death for us all, but also raised Him up to glory, God promises to bring us out of all suffering and trials here in this life and to give us all things together with our glorified Savior. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
PRAYER – Almighty, merciful God, I give thanks to Thee that Thou didst so turn the evil counsel of the devil and of the elders of the church, as well as of Judas, who betrayed Thee, that Thy good and gracious counsel for the salvation of the human race was thereby accomplished. O God, continue to give me Thy grace, that in faith in Thy dear Son, my Savior Jesus Christ, I may always commit myself into Thy Fatherly hands, which will surely rule all things for my good and my eternal happiness. Amen.
Commit whatever grieves thee, into the gracious hands;
of Him who never leaves thee, who heav’n and earth commands;
who points the clouds their courses, whom winds and waves obey;
He will direct thy footsteps, and find for thee a way.
Though all the powers of evil, the will of God oppose;
His purpose will not falter, His pleasure onward goes;
whate’er God’s will resolveth, whatever He intends;
will always be accomplished, true to His aims and ends.
(Hymn 520, st. 1 and 5; TLH)