Is God losing the battle against the evil one?
School shootings. Church bombings. The execution of believers.
Think back to Jesus's crucifixion and burial. His followers must have felt hopeless and defeated.
But Psalm 2:1-4 gives us hope. "Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 'Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!' He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them."
There's nothing man can do to thwart God's plan.
John 18:3 says, "So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons."
The religious leaders, who knew the prophecies of the Old Testament, should have known better than to oppose Jesus. Instead, they were vocal opponents. They openly opposed Him and actively made plans to end His life (John 11:53).
Jesus's Claims: When Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, it meant His authority outweighed theirs.
His Deeds: They witnessed many of Jesus's miracles, but instead of praising God, they attributed Jesus's power to the devil.
His Challenge: He pointed out the hypocrisy that was connected with their religious practices.
His Position: The religious leaders were given power by their Roman rulers and were paid well. If they admitted Jesus was the Messiah all that was in jeopardy.
His Associations: When Jesus kept company with "tax collectors and sinners," it infuriated the religious leaders, who were too "spiritual" to associate with such people.
His Chastisement: Jesus pointed out that the Pharisees and other religious leaders didn't rightly understand God's commands and had added manmade rules.
But there was no reason to put Jesus to death. It was their hypocrisy, pride, and arrogance that caused them to bring Jesus before Pilate to be crucified. They did not want to hear the truth of God. 
However, when people stand in opposition to Truth, they do not thwart God's plans. Instead, they condemn themselves—as was the case with Judas.
John 18:2 says, "Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples."
Judas had lived "up close and personal" with Jesus for over three years. He had heard the Master's teachings and witnessed His miracles. In fact, Judas himself had been given power to heal the sick and cast out demons. He and his fellow disciples made the gospel known.
How could Judas betray Jesus? Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?"
We catch a glimpse of Judas's heart when we read his response to the woman anointing Jesus with costly perfume. His reaction was motivated by greed.
In John 12:6, we read, "He [Judas] said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it."
This unconfessed greed eventually motivated Judas to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
Although, as Christians, we have plenty of ups and downs, we must guard against wrong motives. It would benefit us to pray the words of Psalm 139:23-24 often: "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!"
It's crucial that we recognize Jesus's power and authority. Even the vast numbers who came to arrest Him fell to the ground when they caught a glimpse of His glory.
John 18:6 says, "When Jesus said to them, 'I am he,' they drew back and fell to the ground."
Jesus was not a victim.
He was the one of whom Isaiah said, "He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth" (Isaiah 11:4), and Paul said, "He will slay the lawless with the breath of His mouth" (2 Thess 2:8).
Although Jesus spoke and the crowd fell to the ground because they caught a glimpse of His glory, they simply got to their feet and ignored what had happened. This is evidence that, unless God grants us the gift of faith, we cannot—we will not—initiate salvation.
As genuine believers, we will fail Him all too often. But He still loves us and cares for us. We're still under His protection.
In verse 7 of John 18, Jesus instructs those who've come to arrest him, "So, if you seek me, let these men go."
Verse 9 reveals why this is so important. "This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: "'Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.'"
Rather than being a reference to eternal security, I believe this reveals that Jesus knew His disciples could not, at this time, endure persecution and martyrdom. After all, they would flee and Peter would deny knowing Him.
Even in the garden, Peter revealed that he didn't understand what Jesus had come to accomplish. The disciple cut off the high priest's servant's ear, not comprehending what his Master had been telling them, that He would be put to death.
This act could have resulted in Peter's arrest—and possibly, his execution. But Jesus healed the servant, thereby, saving His disciple from the potential consequences of his hasty actions.
As was the case with Peter, we're saved, protected, cared for, sheltered, and loved not because of our weak grip on Jesus but because of His powerful grip on us.
John 10:28 says, "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand."
So, even when we fail, even when we act foolishly or say stupid things, Jesus doesn't abandon us.
Man cannot thwart God's plan, and those who stand in opposition to Jesus only condemn themselves. But if you stand with Christ and put your faith, hope, and trust in Him as your Savior and Lord, you come under His eternal protection.
In the garden the first Adam succumbed to Satan trap. And here, in another garden, Satan goes after the second Adam, Jesus. But even though He was arrested, bound, taken before the Jewish authorities, and eventually beaten, scourged, and crucified, He was not defeated.
Jesus could have wiped those who came to arrest Him out of existence, but He stepped forward in order to fulfill God's plan of salvation from eternity past.
Although those who were with Jesus didn't understand who He was, even when He momentarily revealed His glory, He wants us to see who He truly is.
There has never been a time when Jesus was not in control—not even when He was arrested, tried, and crucified. Although Jesus was in control, we are responsible. We are all born with a sin nature, and, if we were to be saved, He had to take on the punishment we deserved.
The Savior willingly suffered so we would not have to face God's wrath. How, then, should we face suffering?
Second Timothy 1:8 says, "Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God."
And, amazingly, Peter and John "left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name" (Acts 5:41).
What better way to display that our hope is in the Savior, in spending eternity with Him, than by suffering well as a testament to what He has done by taking our place by dying on the cross?
Coming to saving faith does not mean we will have health, wealth, and success—not as the world sees these things at least. As we mature in Christ, as we grow closer to Him, we become more willing to suffer well, to testify to the world around us that nothing is more important than glorifying the One who gave His life on our behalf.
True satisfaction comes from knowing Jesus and reflecting His glory. Nothing in this world can give us this kind of satisfaction.
Is the Christian life oppressive, burdensome, discouraging?
In Philippians 3:8-10, Paul says, "Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death."
And consider Romans 5:4-5, "Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
It's through joining in the suffering of Christ that we not only get to display to the world His glory but also experience the love God has for us.
The all-glorious Son of God, willingly—in an act of supreme obedience to which He agreed joyfully—suffered and died in our place. He was in full control over it all; He's fully and completely sovereign over everything. He promises those who put their faith, hope, and trust in Him that they're His children. He loves us. He cares for us. He protects us. And He will never let us go.