“What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on thus, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation” (John 11:47-48).
The chief priests and the Pharisees with their scribes were thrown into a panic when they heard that many people had come to believe in Jesus.
What was their fear? That if everyone comes to believe in Jesus as the Messiah; the Son of God; the King of the Universe, the Romans would destroy their nation.
This fear is concretely summed up in John 19:12 “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend; everyone who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar.”
Note that the Romans were their colonial masters at that time. The Jewish leaders were afraid that if the Romans got to hear about Jesus and see how people were trooping to worship Him, they would consider Him a rival king and might likely respond by sending soldiers to destroy their nation.
Like Herod who killed all the male children born at the time of Jesus, the chief priests and Pharisees were afraid that Jesus was going to wrestle power from the Roman authorities. Caiaphas speaking prophetically as High Priest that year summarized the entire mission of Jesus when he said: “It is expedient for one man to die than for a whole nation to perish.” Even Caiaphas himself did not realize the full import of what he was saying.
What these Jewish leaders did not realize, and what Herod did not know is that Jesus did not come to struggle for earthly power.
As Jesus would later say to Pilate, “My kingship is not of this world…” (John 18:36). Their fears were completely unfounded. Nevertheless, Caiaphas was right, it was necessary for Jesus to die not simply to save the Israelite nation (from being crushed by the Roman authorities), but to save the whole world from the bondage of sin.
Dear friends, let us take some moments to ponder on this great sacrifice of Jesus.
We call ourselves Christians not just for fun but to indicate that we are imitators of Jesus Christ. The question now is: To what extent do I behave like Christ? How willing am I to make sacrifices for others? Do I offer my time, talent or resources to others only when I am expecting to get paid? When last did I go out of my way to save someone from dying?
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, teach me to love others as you love me, Amen!
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saturday of the 5th Week of Lent. Bible Study: Ezekiel 37:21-28, Jeremiah 31 and John 11:45-56).