The Profession of Faith
“Jesus handed over according to the definite plan of God”
Jesus’ violent deathwas not the result of chance in an unfor
tunate coincidence of circumstances, but is part of the mystery of
God’s plan, as St. Peter explains to the Jews of Jerusalem in his first
sermon on Pentecost: “This Jesus [was] delivered up according to the
definite plan and foreknowledge of God.”
This Biblical language
does not mean that those who handed himover were merely passive
players in a scenario written in advance by God.
To God, all moments of time are present in their immedi-
acy. When therefore he establishes his eternal plan of “predestina-
tion,” he includes in it each person’s free response to his grace: “In
this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles
and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy
servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and
your plan had predestined to take place.”
For the sake of accom
plishing his plan of salvation, God permitted the acts that flowed
from their blindness.
“He died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures”
The Scriptures had foretold this divine plan of salvation
through the putting to death of “the righteous one, my Servant” as
a mystery of universal redemption, that is, as the ransom that
would free men from the slavery of sin.
Citing a confession of
faith that he himself had “received,” St. Paul professes that “Christ
died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures.”
Jesus’ redemptive death fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy of the suffering
Indeed Jesus himself explained the meaning of his life
and death in the light of God’s suffering Servant.
Resurrection he gave this interpretation of the Scriptures to the
disciples at Emmaus, and then to the apostles.
53:11; cf. 53:12;
15:3; cf. also
3:18; 7:52; 13:29; 26:22-23.