He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will. (Luke 23:25)

Most Christians have a pretty good understanding of the main events of Jesus’ sacrifice. However, the story holds many more lessons for believers who carefully examine His experience on the way to the cross. Have you ever felt betrayed? Jesus suffered betrayal by one of his hand-picked followers, and He understands how you feel every time someone turns his or her back on you, or stabs you in your back. Have you ever felt abandoned? Only one of Jesus’ disciples betrayed Him, but all abandoned Him in His darkest hour. No one is more qualified than Jesus to give you strength in times of cruel aloneness.

Another lesson that stands out from this story is God’s ultimate guidance of events in His plan of salvation. To passive observers—and even to us, if we’re not paying attention—it seems like Jesus is at the mercy of wicked, sinful human beings. Luke recorded the intensity of the scene by writing that Jesus was “surrendered . . . to their will.” But step back for a moment and see the big picture: Every single thing that happened was part of God’s plan for His Son to be crucified for our sake. Nothing took God by surprise. Now invite God into the part of your life that seems spinning out of control, and ask Him to demonstrate His ability to guide all events toward a conclusion that glorifies Him.

Welcome—and expect—God to work in your life every day.

Paul Zinter serves as a substitute teacher. He enjoys writing, bread making, and teaching at his local church.