Audio version at: https://youtu.be/-84k_8FvD0M
Prepare to Listen. Remind yourself of God’s promise: I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Prayerfully Read John 11:45-53
45Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.
46But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what he had done. 47So the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council, and said, ‘What are we to do? This man is performing many signs. 48If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.’ 49But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all! 50You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.’ 51He did not say this on his own, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was about to die for the nation, 52and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the dispersed children of God. 53So from that day on they planned to put him to death.
“What are we to do? This man is performing many signs.” Earlier the Pharisees had demanded that Jesus show them signs (see Jn 2:18, 6:30), but when he did, they objected. He was performing too many signs. So they did what jealous, fearful people usually do, they sought to instill fear in others with an irrational claim. Everyone, they warned, would believe in Jesus and, as a result, the Romans would destroy both the temple and the nation. With the encouragement of Caiaphas, the high priest, they condemned Jesus to death. Previously they’d ‘sought’ and then ‘tried’ to kill him (5:18, 7:25), but had never made a plan. Jesus’ miracle, giving life to a dead person, tipped them over the edge and they finally planned to permanently remove him, getting serious about killing him.
The irony is that their irrational fear—the destruction of the temple and nation—came true, but not because people believed in Jesus. It happened a few years after Jesus’ death. By the time John was written, Rome had destroyed Israel and the temple. Caiaphas’ prophecy about one man dying for many, probably unwittingly spoken, also came true. What the Pharisees wanted, unbeknown to them, was part of God’s grand plan. One man, Jesus, died, not to destroy the nation, but in order “to gather into one the dispersed children of God.” That’s us, gathered into one with all God’s children. We live now, not merely as individuals but as a gathered, a rescued, community of Christ’s people.
What caught your attention in this story? What do you see?
Respond to Jesus
In your death, Lord Jesus, you made possible the gathering of all God’s children into one people. May we, your Church around the world, show the world your truth and love today. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world as One gathered people.
Reflection on Scripture has been a constant in my life ever since I can remember. Reflecting on Jesus in the Gospels has become a necessity to get Jesus right. Join me in reading John to see Jesus more clearly this Lent.