Saturday, April 28, 2012

John 11:45-53

When Lazarus came forth from the tomb, there were two reactions:

Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. (John 11:45-46)

People either believe and follow, or they reject Christ. Some of those there, even having seen with their own eyes the miracle, run to tell the Pharisees. It’s possible that they went to the Pharisees hoping to get the Pharisees to claim Jesus as the Messiah, or they may have just wanted to “rat” Him out. Whatever the motivation, the result was that the Pharisees were beside themselves:

Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.     

“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 

Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” 

He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life. (vs.47-53)

It’s interesting that they don’t argue the validity of the resurrection of Lazarus. Instead of pondering what it all means, they are frantic about what the Roman reaction would be if everyone believes, because it will mess up their power and authority over the Jews. The Romans will come and take away the temple. This in fact did occur in 70 A.D., when the Romans sacked Jerusalem, destroyed the temple and scattered the Jews.

So Caiaphas, the high priest, determines that it would be better for one man to die instead of everyone else. This is the justification he uses for plotting murder. However, he is unaware that his actual words prophesy exactly what would and must happen: one Man would die for all.

We have just read about the last miracle that John recorded. The rest of his gospel is about the final week of Jesus as He moves toward the crucifixion, then the glorious resurrection, and its aftermath. Every time I read one of the gospels and it gets to this point, I feel like the disciples wanting to urge Jesus, “Don’t go!” I know what awaits Him. I know the agony He will suffer. It’s like when we watch a scene in a mystery or horror movie, and we want to yell at the actor on the screen, “Don’t open that door,” because we know something awful awaits him. And yet, had Jesus NOT gone to the cross, we would all be hopelessly dead in our sins.

So, while the religious leaders plot a despicable act, they have no idea Who really is in charge! God is sovereign. He has a plan. Nothing and no one can thwart it. He will use even evil people to accomplish His ends. We don’t need to fear.

We can see so much evil in the world around us - especially in the political realm. And it frustrates and worries us. It makes us fearful of the future. Maybe you work in an environment where corruption is rampant, or in a place where it just seems that there is no justice. Do not fear. God sees it all and He is just. He has a plan!  

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