Reading the Word
John 11:45–53 (ESV)
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.
Understanding and Applying the Word
When the people saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the grave, many believed in him. When the religious leaders heard about Lazarus, they did not attempt to deny the legitimacy of the miracle. There was really no way for them to do that. Instead, they determined to put Jesus to death because they feared that “everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” The religious leaders feared that they would lose their power and influence over the Jewish people and their standing in the eyes of the Roman government. They wanted to keep things the way they were because it benefited them to do so. Jesus had to go.
Caiaphas, the high priest, commented that it would be better for one man (i.e. Jesus) to die for the people than for the whole nation to perish. Little did Caiaphas know that his words were prophetic and that Jesus would die for the people. The religious leaders conspired and sent Jesus to the cross where he died as a sacrifice for all of mankind. Through his death, Jesus saved all who will believe in him. He died so that many would live.
Since his arrival on this earth, Jesus has been a polarizing figure. People tend to either see Jesus as the Savior of the world or the biggest problem with the world. Some think the best thing for this world would be a turn to Christ in faith and obedience, while others think the best thing for our world would be to rid ourselves of Jesus, his teachings, and his followers. Some worship. Others scoff. The reason that Jesus will not go away is because of the testimony we have about the things he did while on this earth. Jesus healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, turned water into wine, calmed the storms, walked on water, raised a man who was in the grave for four days, and then rose from his own grave after being crucified on a cross. Such a man cannot simply be dismissed. We owe it to ourselves to look into these things. If these things are true, how can we do anything other than believe?
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