The United States Congress has the authority to pass resolutions that are binding upon the country. The Congress is a council of elected officials that determines the course of our nation.
There is an authority higher than the United States Congress, however, and that is the authority of God. Whatever God determines to do supercedes anything man has decided. In Acts 2:23, as Peter begins his sermon on the day of Pentecost, he puts the death of Christ into a divine perspective when he says, concerning Jesus of Nazareth, “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hand have crucified and slain.”
One of the basic things to understand about the death of Christ on the cross is that God determined it would be so – and that is why it happened. Peter said that Jesus was delivered “by the determinate counsel of God.” The NAS version says “by the predetermined plan of God.” The ESV says, “by the definite plan of God.”
The word “determinate” is a word which means “to mark out a boundary.” It’s the Greek verb “horizo” which is where we get out word “horizon” (the boundary or limits of our vision). So, in a figurative sense, the word came to mean “to appoint or specify; to determine the limits of something.” And that is what God did. He made a specific, definite plan – that Jesus would die for the sins of the world by being crucified on a cross.
You see, the death of Christ was not an accident of history or a terrible tragedy of things gone wrong. Rather, it was a predetermined plan of God whereby God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16). Jesus was delivered by the determinate counsel of God. Now you know the real meaning of the word.
Say — ponder this: Christ died on the cross for your sins because He loved you so very much. It was something He wanted to do.