Determine Your Destiny
Thoughts from Matthew 27:46
For a few days, we will focus on Matthew 27:46 and the topic “Determine Your Destiny.” We maintain that God has given us “free will” and that we can make choices. At the same time, we understand that He is in control and that we each have a destiny. We participate in determining our destiny.
The best example of determining one’s destiny in Christ. The NASB translation of our text is this: “About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why has though forsaken me?’” This question expresses the depth of Christ’s suffering on the cross.
Jesus chose to endure the cross to fulfill His destiny as the Savior of the world.
George Lamsa translated the Bible into English from the Aramaic language, which was spoken by Jesus and the disciples. According to Lamsa’s translation, Jesus cried out, “Eli, Eli, lemana shabakthani!’ which means, My God, my God, for this I was spared!”
Lamsa includes an alternate reading of this verse which says, “This was my destiny.”
My purpose is not to choose one translation above another. Each translation presents an important truth. Christ’s suffering on the cross was beyond our human understanding. The eternal Son of God, whose fellowship with the Father was perfect, now feels forsaken.
At the same time, Jesus knew that He was destined to fulfill the Savior’s role. As Jesus Himself said, “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” This truly was the destiny of the Son of God.
With the example of Christ in view, we will focus on the translation by Lamsa and its emphasis on destiny. In our next “thoughts” we will discuss some steps that we can take to determine our destiny.
More Thoughts from Matthew 27:46
For a few days, my topic is “Determine Your Destiny.” We will examine several steps that this involves. Step one is “making decisions.” These steps include a discussion of free will and destiny.
Jesus was the “lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” (Revelation 13:8, NIV). Yet He was faced with decisions throughout His life that would bring this to pass. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me: yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). Jesus submitted His will to the will of the Father.”
Judas and the multitude came to arrest Jesus. Simon Peter (John 18:10) drew a sword and cut off the ear of the High Priest’s servant. Then Jesus (Luke 22:51) healed the man’s ear. At this point, we see the interaction of free will and destiny. Jesus said,
“Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?” (Matthew 26:53-54).
The Bible teaches both the sovereignty of God and the free will of man. I believe in a “dynamic determinism,” or to put it another way, a “monitored free will.” Within the limits of God’s control, we make decisions. Some things are undetermined. God delegates the decisions to us. Other things are fully determined by God
It is probably not possible for the finite mind to reconcile free will and the sovereignty of God. One writer says this: “C. H. Spurgeon was once asked if he could reconcile these two truths to each other. ‘I wouldn’t try,’ he replied: ‘I never reconcile friends.’” With this friendship in view (Proverbs 16:9), we determine our destiny by seeking the will of God and by making decisions.
More Thoughts from Matthew 27:46
Our topic, based on this text, is “Determine Your Destiny. My first point, discussed in my last “thoughts,” is that we must realize that we have to make decisions. The second point is that we have to face the present. We cannot live yesterday again, nor can we live tomorrow before tomorrow arrives.
On the cross, according to one version, Jesus said, “This” was my destiny. He had faced high moments in His life. Thousands had followed Him. They had heard Him speak. Many had been healed and fed. When He entered triumphantly (John 12:13) into Jerusalem, the multitudes exalted Him. But now He was dying on the cross. It was “this” part of His destiny to which He referred when He said, “this” was my destiny.
Many times, when we speak about destiny, we use the word to identify a great future. This is, of course, legitimate use of the term. Ultimately, the destiny of Christ is to reign over the universe, but on the cross, His destiny was to suffer intensely and to pay the penalty for our sins. The destiny of Christ included all aspects of His life and ministry.
What we face today is our immediate destiny. The future may be anticipated and loom large in our eyes, but today is the day we are living now. We may be going through difficult times. We may cry out “O God, was this my destiny?” We thought we would be led to great heights, but now this! We must live in our present circumstances, but it helps to understand that ultimately we will be victorious.
An element of determining your destiny, then, is living with the present. It may be bright, glorious, and wonderful right now. Or you may face difficult times. According to the writer of Hebrews (13:5), Jesus said: “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” It may seem at times that He has. In reality, He has not. The dawning of a new day will come for us. Whatever our circumstances, we exalt Him for who He is and for what He has done for us.
More Thoughts from Matthew 27:46
Based on this text, we have been discussing the topic “Determine Your Destiny.” As a starting point, we realize that we have to make decisions. Also, we must face our present circumstances and deal with them. Today, we will focus on our future.
Jesus knew (Matthew 26:32) that He would rise from the grave. He told His disciples that He would. Even on the cross, He said to one of the robbers being crucified, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). Even before He was resurrected, Jesus would be in Paradise. He was confident of ultimate victory.
We can be sure that the ultimate victory is ours. I remember visiting a very sick lady with a friend. We went there to pray for her. Another lady was there when we arrived. When we started to pray, the visiting lady, filled with faith, said: “There is no defeat in Jesus.” Afterward, I thought about that for some time. Providing we can take the long view this is true. We will experience what may seem like defeats, but ultimately we have the victory.
What must we do? We must have faith. We must believe. Our God cares supremely for us. Otherwise, He would not have sent Jesus to the cross. Given His care, He will take care of us. As we have faith, we will make progress in determining our destiny. God will lead us faithfully into His plan for our lives.
Jesus did arise from death. He came out of the grave. He appeared to too many disciples. They saw Him and ate with Him. Today, we celebrate His victory, but the story is not ended. No one has told it more concisely or better than the apostle Paul in Philippians 2:5-11. Every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. God will faithfully reward us for our labors. Nothing that we have done is overlooked by Him. No one can be fairer than our heavenly Father. He will honor us for faithfully determining and fulfilling our destiny.
George M. Flattery, Ph.D., is the founder of Global University and Network211.