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.
54 Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and there he stayed with the disciples.
55 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. 56 They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast at all?” 57 Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.
Protecting What Is Mine
We often believe that we are not safe and that there is scarcity. We believe that we must protect ourselves or horde what we own. We shut down, we shut out. The Pharisees and Sadducees saw themselves under pressure. They had worked hard to rebuild the religious structure that was centered on the temple. The Roman superpower lived in an uneasy peace with the religious authorities and so a Messiah might topple the house of cards they had built. Of course, they didn’t think Jesus was really the Messiah. He wasn’t the kind of man they were looking for. The signs he performed were explained away because of the singularity of their focus.
A horse wears blinkers for a reason. The blinkers maintain its focus so that it can run the race without distractions from other horses or the crowd. However, the blinkers are great if you are on the right track, but what if they help you focus on the wrong thing?
We have all developed values and we have a vision for our lives. We conform ourselves to that vision, whether it is positive or negative. Some people have accepted a vision that they won’t amount to much. Others have accepted a vision of a great ministry or life of teaching where they receive praise and honour for their input into the lives of others. The Bible gives us a different vision. Our track starts with Christ and walks in the Spirit with blinkered eyes focused on Christ. We know nothing except Christ crucified and resurrected. We live out his resurrected life within us.
The Jewish leaders were devout and godly in a self-serving and self-protecting way. Their God served their own agenda and when Jesus challenged that it threatened them enough to want to take Jesus’ life. Some Christians have a faith where really the objectives are ease and comfort or simplistic and shallow. When Jesus rocks their world through circumstances or his word, they wander away from Jesus. He was never what they wanted in the first place.
Father, let us run with perseverance the race marked out before us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Let us run and not grow weary. Let us walk and not be faint. Let us soar up on wings like eagles and throw off the sin that so easily entangles. Let us not protect ourselves, hide ourselves, or lie to ourselves. Let us live in Truth, walk in the Spirit, and to be free.
- In what two ways did people respond to Jesus’ raising of Lazarus?
- What did Caiaphas prophecy?
- What were the leaders of Israel’s motives?
- How do we respond like the leaders of Israel?
- How can we cease protecting ourselves?