How do you respond to Matthew 20:17–19?

“The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and on the third day he will be raised.”

God knew perfectly the hearts of all the Jewish and Gentile people who would be involved in the crucifixion. Indeed, it seems he chose this moment in history to send Jesus into the world precisely because he saw that circumstances were developing in such a way that his plans would be readily accomplished. Hence Paul says that “at the right time” Christ died for us (Rom. 5:16, cf. Mark 1:15, Gal. 4:4, Eph. 1:10).

The Lord knew that, with a minimal amount of providential intervening, these evil people would act in certain ways toward his Son. We need not conclude, therefore, that God had to foreknow from the foundation of the world every decision each of these people would make—together with all the free agents in world history—for him to achieve his objectives. He is wise enough to ensure the success of his plan while working around and through the free agency of people. And he does not need a “crystal ball” vision of the future to do it.

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