John 11:45-57: One Man Should Die
November 17, 2021
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
To dispel again any misunderstanding that John is somehow anti-Semitic (a strange idea given that John himself was a Jew), note that John is as careful to record the Jewish people who believed in Jesus as much as those who did not. Many Jews now “believed in him” (11:45). Would you now pray that God in his mercy would pour out his love and grace upon the Jewish people? Would you pray that, according to God’s gospel promises, that the hearts of many Jewish people would be for Jesus?
Jesus has his opponents still, nonetheless. They are so exasperated by Jesus’ success that all they can do now is to gather in council and discuss together what to do about their problem. They are frightened that everyone will believe in Jesus. And they are frightened of this for reasons of popularity and therefore power: “The Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”
Many people oppose Jesus today for similar reasons. Once it seems as if Christians are gaining influence through sheer weight of numbers, many times there will be a growing gnawing fear that such popularity will in the end have devastating political consequences for the liberalizing elite. They then plot to move against the Christians, tarnish them, and oppose them. ‘Twas ever thus. But even in the midst of such opposition, God is still sovereign.
The high priest rebukes them for their fears. They are ignorant. There is an easy solution to their problem: kill the man. It is quite a thing for a religious leader to recommend, and yet far from without precedent either before or since. Great religiosity does not prevent a man from being a great murderer—even if such murder is religiously sanctioned. Pride is the hardest of spiritual ills to heal, and religious pride the hardest of all kinds of pride. And when a man is religiously proud, and their status is threatened, murder is on their breath.
So it was with Caiaphas, but even then God is sovereign. The very words he chose to advocate for Jesus’ death are actually prophetic! God can even speak through an evil person. He can speak through Balaam’s ass. He can speak through Caiaphas. Perhaps you heard the word of God from a man who later turned out to be a hypocrite. Do not doubt the Word he spoke, just because it was spoken through unclean lips. The Word of God is still the Word of God however unworthy the vessel through which it is proclaimed.
There is no excuse for immorality, for sin will find us out either quickly or lengthily were it not for the wondrous and great mercy of God. But it is a relief for those who were converted through a less than holy evangelist: their conversion is by God, not by man. And Caiaphas prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and also gather in all the children of God scattered abroad.
So it would be. Praise God! Even through the cross.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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