Free-Will or Fate

At times people wonder if they truly have free will, whether they make their own decisions or if they are just robots making decisions that fate or a higher power has predetermined. In John’s Gospel we see an incident that gives us a glimpse into how both free-will and a predetermined plan work together. The gospel writer John relates an incident at the time of Jesus’ arrest that sheds light on the dilemma (John 18:12-14). The man who held the yearly title of high priest the year Jesus was arrested was named Caiaphus. He was no friend of Jesus and considered Jesus to be a threat to the Jewish people. He plotted with others to arrest Jesus and in his plotting declared that it was better for one man to die than for the entire Jewish nation to perish. Ironically, Caiaphus in his opposition to Jesus and therefore in opposition to the God whom he thought he was serving had declared God’s plan for Jesus to die to accomplish the redemption of all men. Caiaphus made this declaration out of his free will; God did not force him or coerce him to make it. The fact that he was in opposition to Jesus indicates that he would not have made this declaration to promote Jesus’ in any way shape or form, yet by operating in his free will he furthered Jesus’ mission while outwardly being opposed to Jesus.

We serve a God who doesn’t need to resort to fate or determinism to accomplish his purposes. Caiaphus demonstrates that even in his free-willed opposition he promoted God’s plan and purposes. His story should give those of us who follow Jesus great comfort and freedom in knowing that even those who oppose Jesus will in their own free will support Jesus’ mission.

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