There is a mine of deep truth in the words before us, which deserves close attention. They show us plainly that all our Lord’s sufferings were undergone voluntarily, and of His own free will. He did not go to the cross because He could not help it.
He did not die because He could not prevent His death. Neither Jew nor Gentile, Pharisee nor Sadducee, Annas nor Caiaphas, Herod nor Pontius Pilate, could have injured our Lord, except power had been given them from above.
All that they did was done under control, and by permission. The crucifixion was part of the eternal counsels of the Trinity. The passion of our Lord could not begin until the very hour which God had appointed. This is a great mystery. But it is a truth.
The servants of Christ in every age should treasure up the doctrine before us, and remember it in time of need. It is ‘full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons.’
Let such never forget that they live in a world where God overrules all times and events, and where nothing can happen but by God’s permission. The very hairs of their heads are all numbered. Sorrow and sickness, and poverty, and persecution, can never touch them, unless God sees fit.
They may boldly say to every cross,—’Thou couldst have no power against me, except it were given thee from above.’ Then let them work on confidently. They are immortal, till their work is done. Let them suffer patiently, if needs be that they suffer.
Their ‘times are in God’s hand.’ (Ps. 31:15.) That hand guides and governs all things here below, and makes no mistakes.”
–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John, Vol. 2 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1869/2012), 21. Ryle is commenting on John 7:25-36.