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by | Oct 18, 2014 | God Is In Control, Of "Control" at the Cross (A Mini-Series)

In this series on how the Adonai God controlled events leading to Christ’s atoning death exactly at the appointed time on the Passover day, today let’s focus on…

Epochal matters…

At this stage, I intend to increase the intensity of the spotlight on the subject of Adonai God… it would stun many of us when we observe the sequence of events leading up to the Cross as to how the Almighty had “everything in His Sovereign control in order everything takes place at the right place and in the right time”. Now consider this Scripture in the background of Jesus’ arrest “in the night before His crucifixion” and Judgment of the High Priest (Matt 26:57-66). Next morning…

“Then the entire council took Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor. They began to state their case: ‘This man has been leading our people astray by telling them not to pay their taxes to the Roman government and by claiming he is the Messiah, a king.’ So Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’  Jesus replied, ‘You have said it.’ Pilate turned to the leading priests and to the crowd and said, ‘I find nothing wrong with this man!’  Then they became insistent. ‘But he is causing riots by his teaching wherever he goes–all over Judea, from Galilee to Jerusalem!’  ‘Oh, is he a Galilean?’ Pilate asked. When they said that he was, Pilate sent him to Herod Antipas, because Galilee was under Herod’s jurisdiction, and Herod happened to be in Jerusalem at the time.” (Luke 23:1-7)

God’s Perfect Timing

Let’s remember:  Caesarea to Jerusalem = 112 kms; Tiberias to Jerusalem = 176 kms; Caesarea to Tiberias = 90 kms

Before I go any further, for the uninitiated a picture of the Geo-political “climate” at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion is essential to understand better the complete picture of God’s Sovereign control over the sequence of events.

For smooth governance, the Land of Palestine was divided by Rome into 6 provinces (Luke 3:1):
A) Galilee, Samaria and Judea (North to South on the Western side of River Jordan) and
B) Iturea, Decapolis and Perea (North to South on the Eastern side of River Jordan)

While the Rome-appointed Governor for Judea and Samaria was Pontius Pilate with his headquarters at the Coastal city of Caesarea (not Jerusalem, obviously commercial reasons influenced Rome in the matter of choosing Caesarea with a thriving port over Jerusalem), the provinces of Galilee and Perea were under the Governorship of Herod Antipas, with him stationed at Tiberias (we will restrict the information on the Geo-political climate to this, for this is what matters for better understanding of the afore-captioned Scripture portion).

Now consider the magnitude of God’s sovereignty over the sequence of events leading up to the Cross. If Pontius Pilate and Herod Antipas had not been at Jerusalem in the climactic hours before the crucifixion, doubtless the Priests (virtual local rulers over the Jews) would have taken Jesus to Caesarea to get the ruling of Pontius Pilate (did not the scene of action shift from Jerusalem to Caesarea when Apostle Paul was arrested?  See Acts 23:23-33) which is a good 112 Kms from Jerusalem, and there too in the questioning process, Pontius Pilate would have discovered Jesus was from Galilee and would have directed the Jesus’ accusers’ to take him to Herod Antipas in Tiberias in Galilee, which is a good 90 kms away from Caesarea. Undoubtedly Herod Antipas, after examining Jesus, would have passed “the buck” back again to Pontius Pilate. In all this ponder for a moment… tick–tock…tick-tock…the time is ticking away. Jesus had to die in Jerusalem on the Passover Day only between 3 pm and 5 pm at God’s appointed time.  Now let’s go on stitching together the probable sequence of events…

Finally in Caesarea Pontius Pilate under severe pressure from the highly influential Priestly class “would have washed his hands” and the High priests would have crucified Jesus in Caesarea itself well after Passover time…maybe as much as 2 days later, after the subsequent Sabbath days (John 19:31) were over.  Bye, Bye Divine plan of God’s Paschal Lamb dying in Jerusalem at the appointed twilight time???  No way!!!  The almighty Adonai God ensure that both the Governors (instrumental in decision the decision making process) were in Jerusalem at the right time, because everything had to occur as per the pre-destined unalterable divine plan!!!


Earlier in this series, I had mentioned about how the Adonai God can make the Earthly authorities virtually dance to His tune without even their own knowledge (2 Kings 19:20-29). The Earthly Kings may undertake to do something to achieve their own selfish ends, but the Almighty can turn their actions around in such a way so that it would all fit His Greater plans. Historically speaking, during that Passover festivities, both Pontius Pilate and Herod Antipas came to Jerusalem for “selfish reasons” one “announced” and the other “secret”. Firstly about the former…like in modern times, even 2000 years ago the politicians were all for public pleasing, and it was a custom for Rome appointed Governors to “identify themselves with the Jews during their most prominent Festival time…the Passover” by being at Jerusalem (the temple city) and coming-up with some public-pleasing gimmicks (Matt 27:15). Coming to the “secret” reason, whenever many Jews are gathered in one place, one jingoistic shout of “Freedom from Rome” would be sufficient to spread the wildfire of “rebellion against Rome”. So the presence of a large number of heavily-armed Roman soldiers on the ground, and Mounted cavalry with gleaming swords under the personal supervision of the Rome-appointed Governors, would serve as a deterrent to such nationalistic uprisings, besides making the crowd-control process that much easier.

So there were Pontius Pilate and Herod Antipas in Jerusalem at that time rather than being in Caesarea and berias, respectively.  Ah, the bottom-line is that the Almighty was in complete control keeping the authorities at the right place and the right time, in order for the divine redeption plan prepared even before the foundation of the world was laid was carried out at the right place and at the right time. 


Prayer: Father, I commit every area of my life into your all powerful, sovereign hands. Help me lead a life pleasing unto Thee. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan

J and SM Ministries

(To access the entire “Of ‘Control’ at the Cross” mini-series, please click here.)