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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: Was the Death of Jesus Planned Ahead of Time?

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Don Stewart

Was the death of Jesus Christ something that happened without any planning? Was it merely an afterthought among the Jews to kill Jesus? To the contrary, the death of Jesus had been planned for sometime.

There Were A Number Of Assassination Attempts

There were a number of attempts to kill Jesus before His crucifixion in Jerusalem. On an earlier trip to Jerusalem the religious leaders attempted to kill him.

Therefore they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple (John 8:59).

The Attempt On His Life At Nazareth

In Nazareth the people tried to throw Him over a large cliff.

All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way (Luke 4:28-30).

The Plot In Jerusalem

There was a plot to kill Jesus when he came to Jerusalem on his last visit.

Then the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas; and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they were saying, "Not during the festival, otherwise a riot might occur among the people" (Matthew 26:3,4).

The Argument Over The Sabbath Issue

Jesus' breaking of the religious leaders traditions regarding the Sabbath, and His claim of equality with the Father, caused them to want to kill Him.

For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God (John 5:18,19).

The Prediction Of Caiaphas

The High Priest Caiaphas spoke of the necessity of Jesus' death.

Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, "You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish." He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life (John 11:49-53).

Without realizing it he correctly predicted the reason for Jesus' death.

It Was In God's Eternal Plan

The death of Christ is part of the eternal plan of God. Fifty days after Jesus' death, the Apostle Peter declared on the day of Pentecost:

Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves also know - him, being delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that he should be held by it (Acts 2:22-24).

This Was Planned Before The World Was Founded

In the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John tells us that Jesus was the lamb slain before the foundation of the world.

And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain (Revelation 13:8).


The death of Jesus Christ was not a spontaneous tragedy or a historical mistake. It was part of a pre-determined plot by the religious leaders of Jesus' day to put Him to death. They had attempted to kill Him in Nazareth. The High Priest Caiaphas predicted the necessity of the death of Jesus. They were constantly looking for a convenient time to kill him. King Herod also wanted him dead.

The death of Christ was in the predetermined program of God - planned before the foundation of the world. It is a crucial element in God's eternal plan to save humanity from their sins. It was not an isolated event.

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