53 That day they started planning to kill Jesus. 54 So Jesus no longer traveled openly among the Jews. He left there and went to a place near the desert, to a town called Ephraim and stayed there with his followers. 55 It was almost time for the Jewish Passover Feast. Many from the country went up to Jerusalem before the Passover to do the special things to make themselves pure. 56 The people looked for Jesus and stood in the Temple asking each other, “Is he coming to the Feast? What do you think?” 57 But the leading priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where Jesus was, he must tell them. Then they could arrest him.—John 11:53-57 (NCV)
Yesterday, in verse 50 of John 11, we hear Caiaphas prophesying that one man must die for the nation. He thought his statement was about handing Jesus over to the Romans so that they would not take any authority away from the Sanhedrin, the ruling council of Israel. He did not realize the eternal implications of what he said, God used the most powerful Jew in Israel, at that time, to announce His salvation plan for the whole world. Had the Pharisees and the ruling council understood this, perhaps, they would not have been so determined to kill Jesus. Jesus, knowing their thoughts and intentions left Bethany and went to the town of Ephraim located in the mountainous area northeast of Jerusalem. It was approaching the time for the Feast of the Passover. Little did the people realize that this would be the Passover that marked the end of the Passover as they knew it. The perfect, sacrificial Lamb was in their midst and they did not recognize Him. Jesus had shown them who He was by His words and His works.They should have been honoring Him. Instead, they were trying to kill Him. He is still in our midst today, are we honoring Him? Does our lifestyle, our dreams, our hopes, our actions, our words reflect His presence in our lives? Or are we still killing Jesus today?
45 Many of the Jews, who had come to visit Mary and saw what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the leading priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the Jewish council. They asked, “What should we do? This man is doing many miracles. 48 If we let him continue doing these things, everyone will believe in him. Then the Romans will come and take away our Temple and our nation.” 49 One of the men there was Caiaphas, the high priest that year. He said, “You people know nothing! 50 You don’t realize that it is better for one man to die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” 51 Caiaphas did not think of this himself. As high priest that year, he was really prophesying that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation 52 and for God’s scattered children to bring them all together and make them one.—John 11:45-52 (NCV)
After seeing Lazarus come out of the tomb, some of the people believed and others went to tell what they had seen. When they told the Pharisees and the leading priests, this group called a meeting of the whole Jewish council. The council was afraid that if Jesus kept doing miracles, He and His followers might become too powerful and upset the Romans. Then the Romans would remove them from the Temple and take away the authority they had been allowed to exercise over the Jewish people. Without realizing what he was saying, Caiaphas, the high priest for that year, prophesied that Jesus would die for the redemption of the Jews and other nations to make them into one body, the Church. But, since they could not sentence anyone to death, they needed the Romans to do that for them. God uses people to fulfill His plans and He has a purpose for every life. Some are willing agents. Isaiah, Moses, Daniel, David and the apostles are good examples. Others are used by God, even if it is unwillingly and unwittingly, to accomplish His purpose. Pharaoh, Caiaphas, Judas and Pilate are examples of this type of agent. 16 It was by Him that everything was created: the heavens, the earth, all things within and upon them, all things seen and unseen, thrones and dominions, spiritual powers and authorities. Every detail was crafted through His design, by His own hands, and for His purposes. 17 He has always been! It is His hand that holds everything together. 18 He is the head of this body, the church. He is the beginning, the first of those to be reborn from the dead, so that in every aspect, at every view, in everything—He is first.—- Colossians 1:16-18 (THE VOICE). Which will we be, willing or unwilling agents?