My wife Christine made this observation yesterday:
The story of Jesus’ incarnation is full of moments when God protected Him from death.
- Mary might have been stoned to death for alleged adultery, but God instructed Joseph to take her as his wife (Deuteronomy 22:23-24; Matthew 1:18-25).
- God provided safe travel for the pregnant mother to Bethlehem (Luke 2:1-7).
- Imagine the unsanitary conditions of Mary’s “birthing room” and Jesus’ first “crib” (Luke 2:7, 12, 16).
- Herod had a plan to destroy the newborn Messiah, but God sent an angel instructing Joseph to escape with mother and baby to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15).
- The pre-teen Jesus was protected from harm when separated from His family for a day or so (Luke 2:41-52).
- The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to fast and face the devil, but God protected Him and strengthened Him (Matthew 4:1-11).
- There were several times when the crowds wanted to kill Him, but He walked away unscathed ( Luke 4:29-30; John 8:59, 10:39).
- There were those who were plotting to kill Jesus throughout His public ministry (John 5:18, 7:1, 8:37-40, 11:53).
- And there are countless other protections that were not recorded, I’m sure (John 20:30, 21:35).
But when the hour had come for Jesus to fulfill His purpose for coming, the crux of which was His horrible execution (Philippians 2:5-11), the Father removed His protection from His Son. Angels were summoned to His side to provide strength, but not deliverance (Luke 22:43; Matthew 26:47-56). In fact, God did not merely hold back deliverance from death, but actually delivered Jesus over to the hands of death (Acts 2:23).
This reminds me of something that was said about King David’s death: “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers…” (Acts 13:36).
It makes me wonder how many times God has protected me from death, and how many more times He will do so until I have “served the purpose of God in [my] own generation.” One day He will take me home. Until then I must continue to use my passions for His purpose in the place where He has put me.