How Then Could the Scriptures Be Fulfilled

Text: Matthew 26:51-56 Speaker: Festival: Passages: Matthew 26:51-56

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Matthew 26:51-56

51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant1 of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” 55 At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. 56 But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.


[1] 26:51 Or bondservant


Jesus disciples are confused, at least Peter is. In that confusion they react. They react quickly, decisively. They react to protect Jesus, at least Peter does. But that reaction is contrary to the Father’s will. That reaction is not in accordance with God’s kingdom. That reaction is sinful. Peter allows his fear to take control and falls into temptation.

Jesus’ response is concise. Allow this, how else can the scriptures be fulfilled?

Know God’s word, follow God’s will, and when you don’t know God’s will instead of running impulsively into a sinful action, stop wait, let God work his will.

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God;

In moments of confusion and fear when it looks to us like God is not in control or has forgotten about us, instead of following Peter into taking things into our hands, into hasty decisions, into opportunities for Satan to lead us into temptation, wait. Instead of following Peter God’s word calls us to wait, be still, and watch and trust that this too is according to God’s will.

As Jesus says in the gospel of Luke, “Permit even this.” Allow even this for now.                      

Why? Why should the disciples allow Jesus to be captured and killed? To us now looking back it is obvious but at the time Jesus gives only one answer

“How else will the scriptures be fulfilled?”

Why? Why was it necessary for Jesus to be scourged, to be crucified, to die?

For our sins yes, but why did it have to happen that way? God is omnipotent, all powerful, surely, He could have found another way. Surely, He could have found a way that did not require His Son to suffer and die. Surely,  He could have found a way to save all people, so that everyone gets to go to heaven, not just the small percentage that believe in Jesus.

To all of these questions Jesus gives only the simple answer, “How else should the scriptures be fulfilled?” Which is the same as saying this is the plan that God has chosen. God doesn’t always give us a lot of answers sometimes we have to be content with this is God’s way and I can trust him

Peter’s reaction is a little simpler than all of this. He is not engaged in a philosophical debate. He is simply reacting to keep Jesus from being taken captive. This can’t possibly be God’s plan.

When we ask why, like Peter our question is usually simpler and more personal. We don’t usually worry why did Jesus have to suffer. More often we wonder why me? Why this? Why now?

Last week Vanessa and I were almost in an accident. We were turning left across a four-lane highway. Another two cars were on the opposite side of the road turning to their left to our right. Because they were coming across opposite me I didn’t see another car coming along the highway to my right. As I got half way across the road and was about to turn into the lane this other car came racing right past me. A couple seconds later, or if I had kept going for another few inches we would have collided. Near mises like that are often replayed in our head in relief. When it is not a miss, we often replay it in our head even more. Why didn’t I wait a little longer? Why didn’t I do this or that? If only. Surely this was not God’s plan?

Jesus’ response to Peter “how else could the scriptures be fulfilled” indicates confidence in the Father that the Father is in control. That these things must happen to fulfill His plan and His will. Even though it really doesn’t look like God’s in control. Even though every logical thought tells us how could a loving God allow this, how can this be God’s plan? Still God is in control.

Scripture specifically foretold Jesus death.

Isaiah 53:7 He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,

Isaiah 53:5 He was wounded for our transgressions

Jesus’ was confident that this was God’s plan because of the scripture but even more importantly He was confident that it was God’s plan because God was in control.

He says My Father could “provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?” Matthew 26:53

We don’t always know God’s plan ahead of time. We don’t have scriptures that foretell the sufferings of our life. And what a good thing that is. If we like Jesus knew what was coming I don’t think we could go forward to accept the situations in our life. But we nevertheless have confidence that God is control, that in all things His plan will be fulfilled.

Think of John the Baptist sitting in prison. Is this really God’s plan for my life? Is God really in control here? It sure doesn’t seem like it. Yet Jesus responds to John, the gospel is being preached. God is in control. God’s kingdom comes.

All things must be fulfilled. God doesn’t always tell us why. No matter how much He told us there would still be more that we don’t understand. He has told us many things about His plan but not everything. Even when we know what His plan is in that moment, we still need confidence that God is in control. Confidence that will enable us not to react with violence but to wait, stand still and see God’s will fulfilled.

Jesus trusts God plan. Even when the soldiers surround him. Even when faced with clubs and swords. Even when Jesus says “It is your hour and the power of darkness” still Jesus knows God is in control. Think about that. Jesus says it is the hour of darkness, yet at the same time He confess that His Father is in perfect control. Even this is in fulfillment of scripture.

How else can scripture be fulfilled? How else can God’s will be done. Wait and see the Lord’s salvation. Amen