Prophetic Caiaphas

Wednesday, July 19                  

John 11:45-51 is an intriguing and remarkable account.  After the resurrection of Lazarus, many of the “Jews” who witnessed this miracle “put their faith in him.”  [John consistently used the term “Jews” for the Jewish leaders.]   Things were heating up for the unbelieving hierarchy of the Jews.  So the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin to determine what to do (v. 47).  Their concern was “If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away our place and our nation (v. 48.)”  Remarkable!  Despite the miracles and the claim of Jesus to be their Messiah, they chose to retain their prestigious position over recognizing and following their Messiah.  They also seemed to be convinced that the special status of the Jews within the Roman Empire would be taken away.  The measure of self-rule given them would relegate them to total dominance by the Romans and they would lose their right to worship God.  Caiaphas, the current high priest, knew how to deal with the situation.  He sharply rebuked them  with  “You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”  Absolutely a correct statement, but malicious in intent.  Caiaphas had a different twist in regard to perishing.  He was thinking about Roman retaliation.  But  what was far more important, the Jews would perish in their sins, consigned to hell for eternity.  But the prophecy was precisely what Jesus was determined to do—lay down his life for the sins of all men, including the Gentiles.  This is what is really remarkable about this account.  As a high priest Caiaphas was expected to speak for God.  That he could prophesy was in line with Jewish tradition.  His prophecy was correct, albeit with an evil intent.  “He did not say this on his own, , but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation (v. 51).”  John adds “And not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one (v. 52). “  And here’s the conclusion.  “So from that day on  they plotted to take his life (v. 53).”   What an amazing conclusion!  God uses the chief leader of his own people, a liar and a traitor, to prophecy correctly, paving the way for God to achieve his own redemption plan.  God is not only omniscient and omnipotent, he has a sense of drama.

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