Jesus had been performing miracles and speaking to the people in such a manner that numerous people believed He was the Christ. He had just raised Lazarus from the dead in Bethany, near Jerusalem and many Jews had believed. But not everyone accepted Him. Some didn’t want the Christ to come for fear it would upset the status quo. Those few, really liked the situation as it was. But God has a plan, and He will carry out His purposes irrespective of our agreement or disagreement with it.
The Jews lived under the Roman régime. They were not a free people. They had the idea that when the Messiah came, he would free them from governmental oppression and set up His own authority and kingship. The poor of the nation were all for overthrowing Rome, but the higher ups were comfortable. They enjoyed the perks they got.
Verses 45-48 read,
“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.”
The chief priests and the Pharisees were among those who experienced the privileges of wealth under Roman oppression and didn’t want the masses getting fired up enough to revolt. They gathered a council called the Sanhedrin. This was the Jewish high court and was made up of religious and lay persons of the most elite, including, Pharisees, priests, and others. They made religious and political decisions for the Jewish nation. They were powerful fat cats and they didn’t want to lose their position, clout, or money. But the high priest Caiaphas had an idea. He was sly about how he presented it. He didn’t come out and say, “We need to kill Jesus.” He said it so that the council members would come to that decision together. Verses 49-50 read,
“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.”
The Holy Spirit was an uninvited guest in that meeting. He made sure that God’s plan would be carried out and He even let Caiaphas’ devious heart prophesy. Verses 51-52 read,
“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.”
Jesus, one man would die for Israel and the whole world. He died so that we could live. Caiaphas didn’t know what He was saying. He spoke a deep and lovely truth. His words sparked the movement to kill Jesus. He thought Jesus’ death would squash the growing sect. But instead Jesus’ death brought about God’s plan and Christianity grew far beyond the Sanhedrin’s vision.
They began, that day to diligently plan to kill Jesus. So Jesus stopped walking publicly. He went to Ephraim, a town near the wilderness and continued teaching out of the sight of the people actively seeking His death. He wasn’t afraid. He knew that the time had to be right. He would give Himself to death when that time came, but it wasn’t just yet. But Passover was coming and the Jews were gathering in Jerusalem. They all wondered if Jesus would show up and what would happen when He did.
Caiaphas and the other Sanhedrin had a plan. They wanted to kill Jesus and crush the growing movement He had begun. But God had a plan too. The Lord used Caiaphas and his schemes to accomplish His will. God’s plans are unstoppable. They overlay our designs and they are the foundation of the world. Bad things happen, but God uses them for His intentions and objectives.
Believer, you can rest in the knowledge that God wants good for you. He wants you to be like Jesus. Everything that happens, no matter how awful, He uses for your benefit. (Romans 8:28-29). Jesus’ death didn’t work for Caiaphas purposes, it worked for God’s, and it worked for yours. When you suffer remember that and rejoice in the pain. Jesus took joy in His crucifixion because He knew that it was accomplishing a great work for the Kingdom. (Hebrews 12:2). If He could face that agony with joy for you, you can face the trials and difficulties of your life with joy for the many witnesses to your testimony.