I should be on holiday in Madeira right now. Hotel booked, flight paid for, insurance sorted, I was going with my wife, daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren. Today is my granddaughter’s sixth birthday and we had all sorts of plans about how we would spend this week. As it is we’re still home in Bridgend and my granddaughter is in Swindon. A virtual birthday has been arranged which will be lovely, but it’s not the same. Thank you lockdown!

Are you old enough to remember the A Team on TV? It was a fun series that aired from 1983 to 1987 with a group of characters who had been court-martialled for a crime they didn’t commit, escaped from military prison, and served as soldiers of fortune. Their leader was Hannibal Smith who used to say, “I love it when a plan comes together”? BA Baracus, another member of the team, had a famous catchphrase, “I ain’t getting on no plane”. Well, my plans haven’t come together and I certainly didn’t get on a plane last Thursday as intended.

This isn’t the first holiday I’ve lost. Five years ago we were off to Barcelona to celebrate my 60th birthday. As far as I was concerned it was planned to perfection but I hadn’t considered the possibility of a French Air Controllers strike. It wasn’t much fun being at an airport, waiting in a queue about to board, and then being told that the flight was cancelled. The journey home from Bristol wasn’t a happy one. It is nice when a plan comes together but we can never guarantee it will happen. However much effort we put into organising something, we can’t be certain that we’ve covered every eventuality or made all the right decisions. All we can do is hope that we have. So, as I say, it is nice when a plan comes together but a pain when it doesn’t.

How can you guarantee that a plan will work out? You can’t of course, it’s not possible, unless you’re God. God had a plan to remove sin from this world. He wanted to do it because sin was making it impossible for us to have a relationship with him, and that’s what he wanted. God’s plan was devised before the earth was even created, before man was created and brought sin into the world. God’s plan required a man to live a perfect life, but to be rejected by his own people and delivered up to the authorities, who would mock him, beat him and crucify him. It was essential for this to happen so that Jesus could end up on a cross being punished for our sins. God’s plan to bring us back to him required the death of his Son. This is some plan isn’t it? There were so many elements that could go wrong from the birth to death of Jesus that statistically alone this plan was a non-starter, and God made it more difficult for himself by telling us in advance how our salvation could occur. God told us about where Jesus would be born (Bethlehem)(1), his time as a refugee in Egypt(2), his manner of death (crucifixion)(3), the suffering he would endure(4), even the words he would speak from the cross(5).

Everything God said would happen did happen just as he foretold. Men who took Jesus and crucified him, because they hated him, were fulfilling Bible prophecy and ensuring that God’s plan of salvation was completed. For me, that’s wonderful because I know that Jesus is my Saviour and my sins have been forgiven. For you, it could be wonderful if you accept that Jesus died on the cross being punished for your sins. If you do so, and commit yourself to living as a Christian, then your sins will be forgiven and you will be able to have a relationship with God.

(1) Micah 5:2

(2) Hosea 11:1
(3) Psalm 22:16
(4) Psalm 129:3
(5) Psalm 22:1