2nd November 2012

Conspiracy Theory

“For I hear many whispering ‘Terror on every side!’ They conspire against me and plot to take my life.”
Psalm 31:13 (NIV UK)

The UK’s “Guy Fawkes” day is soon. It is about how Guy Fawkes and his friends failed to blow up King James 1 and his parliament on the 5th November, 1605.

Shakespeare wrote, “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown”. It refers to how monarchs worry about conspiracies and plots against them, as David did above. Not the least paranoid was James I, whose father had been blown up in a suspicious explosion, and whose mother, Mary Queen of Scots, had been beheaded!

At school our history class was involved in a Gunpowder Plot drama. “Imagine you were one of the conspirators”, we were told. I loved it. I remember trying to identify with their cause. Of course, I don’t think I would have supported them.

Some conspiracies are the products of overactive fear, but others are very real. After being released from a Jerusalem prison the apostles Peter and John led believers in a prayer of thanksgiving. In it they explained to God how “Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus” (Acts 4:27). Jesus was the victim of a massive conspiracy. I wonder, had we been alive at the time, whether we would have participated in it. I like to think I would not have. Chances are, however, that I would have joined in the plot in some way, actively or passively. We all would have, is the biblical implication.

No doubt there will be some spectacular fireworks displays in the next few days. They celebrate a conspiracy that failed. King James outlived all the conspirators.

On the surface of it the conspiracy against Jesus appeared to succeed. “They plotted to take his life” (John 11:53), and Jesus was crucified. But God’s plan was greater than any plots. Humans may try to conspire against him, but “it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Psalm 19:21). The Father did not leave his Son in the grave: he raised him from the dead.

Jesus lives! Now that’s something to really celebrate!

Wondrous Father, thank you that you are sovereign, despite man’s plots and conspiracies against you. In Jesus’ name.

Study by James Henderson

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