IT HAD TO BE!
“Therefore, many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in Him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. ‘What are we accomplishing?’ they asked. ‘Here is this man performing many signs. If we let Him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.'” John 11:45-48 NIV
Wrong! The religious leaders were really being melodramatic! In what way would Jesus’ signs cause them to “lose” their temple and their nation?
Jesus’ miracles, up to this point, were in no way disturbing the Romans. What He was doing was evidence that the God who wanted them to worship Him was not the vengeful, demanding and legalistic god of the Pharisees but a loving Father who wanted them to submit to His way so that they would live in harmony with Him and with one another.
Like all the others, including Jesus’ disciples, it seems that the Jews” idea of the Messiah was one of a strong political ruler who would restore the Davidic kingdom to its former glory by getting rid of the Romans and setting up His own rule in Israel. Did they think that Jesus’ miracles were His way of getting the people on His side so that, when He made His move against Rome, they would rise up with Him?
Had the Jews only listened without the filter of their prejudice and envy, they would have heard something different from their twisted interpretation of His words and works. Their protests covered up a much more sinister and personal reason for hating Him. Jesus was not shy of showing them up for what they were — greedy and conniving opportunists who used their position to enrich themselves at the expense of the people whom they controlled through their religious demands in the name of God!
This latest challenge, the spectacular and unassailable act of raising Lazarus who had been putrefying in the grave for four days, was the last straw. The religious leaders had to exterminate Jesus because they did not know what He would do next. What they did not take into account was that nothing He had said or done up to this point, indicated that He had intentions of rising up against Rome and taking over. All they knew was that He had great power and they were afraid of Him.
Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up. ‘You know nothing at all! You do not realise that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.’ He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So, from that day on they plotted to take His life.” John 11:49-52 NIV.
Caiaphas was high priest and spokesman for the Sanhedrin. Little did he know that what he had to say, out of his puny reasoning, was actually an accurate and profound prophetic statement of the truth. Caiaphas saw Jesus as the scapegoat for themselves and the people. It was either Jesus or them. However, he unwittingly verbalised God’s redemptive purpose for sending Jesus.
John was quick to pounce on his words and explain that Jesus’ death was indeed a substitute for the Jews in Israel and all God’s people everywhere. Were the words of Isaiah, which the prophet had spoken centuries before and which Caiaphas would have known so well, subconsciously emerging from his lips?
“Surely. He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we were healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way, and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:4-6 NIV.
Yes, Caiaphas, you were absolutely right! It had to be, but you were part of the plot to kill Him and you were guilty!
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.