I’m feeling off-set that I haven’t spent time with the Book of John lately, so on this dreadly rainy day when I should be planning out my world war study with the lad, I find myself instead drawn to spending time in John. Last time we met Lazarus was raised from the dead. In John 11:45-57 we see a plot to kill Jesus.
45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, 46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.
54 Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and there he stayed with the disciples.
55 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves.56 They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast at all?” 57 Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.
Do you recall the people that had followed Mary out when she went to see Jesus? All those Jews who had come to comfort her and Martha in their time of loss.
Well, you know they saw what Jesus did eh? They saw Lazarus called forth out of the tomb, they saw him weep, they saw him pray (not in the order mind you). But they saw ALL that Jesus had done. Some of those people, seeing this, believed in Jesus. Isn’t that awesome?
But some of them didn’t. Instead they went running to the Pharisees and “told them what Jesus had done.” Therefore the chief priests and Pharisees called a council and asked this: “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” Do you see their fear? The leadership walked a fine line eh? Knowing the Romans left them free to practice their religion yet not being masters of the land they lived on. How do they maintain their peace and status? How do they prevent Jesus from running amuck, running against what they believed, raising folk from the dead and basically causing a stir? They were so uncertain until…..
Caiaphas, the high priest that year, said “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” Verse 51 puts a different spin on it, without it you’d think he was just a nasty man. BUT it was a prophesy that spoke saying the Jesus would die for the nation, but not just the nation but all of God’s children around the world. Reading that it was a prophesy, I wonder what Caiaphas thought after he said those words. Did they ring true for him, or was he horrified at what he just said? I know we aren’t told, but we don’t see him saying no no, that’s not what I meant instead we see the following…
The Jewish leadership was no longer uncertain about what to do. Their plans were simple, centered around this solution: how do we put Jesus to death?
The end result is that Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews, instead went to Ephraim where he stayed with the disciples.
Passover was coming, Jewish folks came from all over to Jerusalem to prepare themselves, as they did so, they looked around for Jesus. Word would have spread about him, and the curiousity of people would bring out the wondering. “Where is Jesus, will he show up, what do you suppose he’ll do, will he do Passover at all you suppose?” Those questions would have been stirred up by the news the Pharisees and chief priests wanted him arrested. All the more reason for people to be curious.
What’s my take home?
God’s word is met in ways unexpected. Like Caiaphas’ prophesy of Jesus’ death. The fears of the Jewish leadership that made taking Caiaphas’ prophecy and turning into something they could use for their own benefit (and supposedly for the benefit of Israel).
AND YET, people believed in Jesus. Despite the turmoil and upset, people believed in Jesus. And that is so very very awesome, isn’t it?