John 11:45-57 Protecting What Is Mine

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.


  1. In what two ways did people respond to Jesus’ raising of Lazarus?
  2. What did Caiaphas prophecy?
  3. What were the leaders of Israel’s motives?
  4. How do we respond like the leaders of Israel?
  5. How can we cease protecting ourselves?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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20 Responses to John 11:45-57 Protecting What Is Mine

  1. Kathleen says:

    In response to Lazarus, some people believed in Jesus and others became upset at what he had done. Caiaphas said that it is better for one man to die for the whole nation. He was speaking about Jesus’ death. The Jewish leaders wanted to keep peace with the Roman empire. They were trying to protect themselves. Sometimes God asks us to do things out of our comfort zone and we don’t want to because we like the world we have created around us. We might not want to change. We must remember that God promises to protect and if he calls us to something he will bring it about to completion. We should find comfort in him even if he is asking us to do difficult things.

  2. karas says:

    Some believed, and some rejected Jesus. Caiaphas prophesied that one would die for many, as Jesus would. The leaders seemed to want to protect their safely guarded reputation and religion. They did not want anyone stirring things up, as Jesus was. I can be like them by not recognizing what God is doing when it is not what I expect, but should guard against this. Seeking God daily through prayer and reflection and Bible study can help me guard against this.

  3. Lacy says:

    1. Some believes in him, but some wet and informed his enemies.
    2. He prophesied that Jesus would need to die for the good of many.
    3. They wanted to continue in the semi-comfort of their lives without any uneasiness or danger, even if it meant killing Christ.
    4. Sometimes we “put blinders on” against the significance of Christ’s work, for fear that it will disrupt our comfort or plan.
    5. This can only be overcome as we learn to know and trust Jesus more.

  4. Jenna says:

    1. Some believed, but others went to the religious leaders and reported on what had happened.
    2. Jesus would die for the people!
    3. They wanted to keep the peace with Rome and maintain the purity of the Jewish faith.
    4. It can be easy at Moody to be hyper-critical and be over-sensitive to what doesn’t fit in our idea of who God is and how He works. People from different contexts and walks of life can threaten our prized ideas of God and make us defensive to protect our preconceived ideas.
    5. Something that I have to do personally is find the fine line between thinking critically and being critical, especially when I’m listening to a sermon or talking to a fellow student.

  5. Sara Cavitt says:

    1) Some saw what Jesus did and believed in Him, while others went in disbelief to the Pharisees to tell them what Jesus had done.
    2) He prophesied that Jesus would die for the people and that the people would be united.
    3) Their motives were to protect their “religion” that they had created, because Jesus was a threat to what they believed.
    4) If we blind ourselves to the Truth, who is Jesus, then we don’t see clearly.
    5) I believe that we can stop protecting ourselves by coming to Jesus and asking Him what His calling is on our lives. I often pray to ask God to do His will, because I want to live my life according to His plan.

  6. Chelsea P. says:

    we can stop “protecting” ourselves by realizing that it is impossible to do so. The Lord is our Protector. He is the one who sustains us. My prayers often show my priorities- I want comfort over godliness, I want pleasure over holiness. I am petty and in need of the Lord. I do not know what I need or how to protect myself. I need the Lord and his grace. I need him to realign my priorities. I need faith to trust in his goodness and his love. I need less of me and more of him.

    • Plymothian says:

      This kind of confession is good for the soul. We unconditionally accept you with all your faults. Now we all need to work together to leave our failings behind.

  7. Amy McCashen says:

    1. Some believed in Jesus, and some ran to tell the religious leaders of the day.
    2. Calaphas prophesied that Jesus would did for the nation and would bring together all the believers who are scattered.
    3. I think their motives were selfish. They were not getting as much attention or praise from the people because Jesus was around teaching things different from them with just the same, if not more, authority!
    3. Sometimes I am selfish and seem to be serving God when really I am not. It is so easy for me to get caught up in the praise of man. Lord, keep me humble and my eyes fixed on You and Your glory only!
    4. I can stop protecting myself by trusting in Jesus to protect me and be faithful even when I am not.

  8. Sarah Deurbrouck says:

    1. In what two ways did people respond to Jesus’ raising of Lazarus?
    Many believed and many went to tattle-tale to the Pharisees.
    2. What did Caiaphas prophecy?
    That Jesus would die for the nation and for those that belong to him that are scattered abroad. (crazy!)
    3. What were the leaders of Israel’s motives?
    To keep their place on power and their nation.
    4. How do we respond like the leaders of Israel?
    We selfishly seek to maintain our own standards, comforts and ways of life.
    5. How can we cease protecting ourselves?
    It requires humility. You must see others as greater than yourself. You must learn to decrease so that Christ may increase.

  9. Bethany says:

    2) Caiaphas knew that Jesus would die for the nation
    3)The leaders of Israel were comfortable with how everything was going. They knew that if the Messiah had come it would change so many things, giving them less power as well. They did not like that idea and wanted everything to stay the same.
    4) We often times have no desire to leave our comfort zones, whether that be to go talk to the homeless person you pass everyday on the way to work, or moving to the Middle East to become a missionary.

    • Plymothian says:

      What about you personally, Bethany? Did you actually pass a homeless person or feel called to go to the Middle East. Does the application come home to rest or is this theoretical?

  10. Rebekah Thompson (Bekah) says:

    1. Some rejoiced and worshiped Jesus others went to the religious leaders to tell them about what he had done.
    2. That Jesus was going to die for the nation and that he would die for those beyond the nation as well.
    3. They wanted to protect themselves from getting kicked out of the place and letting everyone abandon their faith and believing in Jesus.
    4. We are so quick to judge what does not agree with what I believe. I am so overly critical.
    5. By placing our lives into God’s hands and letting him do with it what he wants

  11. Beth Coale says:

    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?
    1. Some believed Him (that He was Christ) and some believed that He could not be trusted and that He needed to be dealt with by the Pharisees

    2. that Jesus would die for the nation

    3. they couldn’t accept Jesus and the change that He would bring to the nation, which would definitely affect their positions and their lives

    4. not accepting Christ, not acknowledge the change that may need to happen in our life,by valuing our agenda over God’s plans

    5. by giving up our right to be our own judge (of ourselves, of what we think is best, of what we think Christ should do)

  12. Ashley says:

    1. Some believed, while others reported what happened.
    2. He prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation.
    3. They had selfish motives.
    4. We act in doubt and try to find problems with Jesus instead of admitting our own problems.
    5. We can cease protecting ourselves by realizing that God himself is fully willing and capable of protecting us.

  13. Dominic shortridge says:

    1. People responded to Jesus in 1 of 2 ways. They either accepted his signs and filled him, or they rejected him as the Pharisees and Caiaphas did.
    2. Caiaphas prophecy that Jeaus was going to be executed or assassinated for the good of the nation, preserving their limited autonomy from Rome.
    5. We can cease
    From protecting ourselves by allowing ourselves to be in situations where we could be challenged.

  14. nataliaria says:

    In the wake of Jesus’ miraculous resurrection of Lazarus, some of those who had witnessed the wonder believed in Jesus and began following Him. Others, however, responded in disbelief and with hardened hearts went to the Pharisees to report Jesus.

    Caiaphas prophesied (<that word was really hard to spell) that Jesus would die on behalf of the entire nation.

    The leaders of Israel were unsettled by Jesus and were seeking to eliminate Him because His presence and growing number of disciples was threatening to upset the fragile relationship that the Jews maintained with the Roman rulers of the area. I have a feeling this was compounded by a bit of jealousy of His influence, as well as indignation as His claims to be God.

    I can relate my own response to a new-comer in a social setting to that of the Pharisees, although on a much smaller scale. I sometimes take it upon myself to worry about the impact a new individual, coworker, or friend might have on the already-existing social structure, and I sometimes refuse to allow God to be sovereign and prepared for those moments.

    I can cease protected myself my loosening the tight grip that I often hold on my role in the various places that I work, and allowing God to work in the lives of others in my workplaces. I think this is especially fitting as I phase out of two jobs that have been a large part of my life for the past years; I must relinquish control and the value that I have associated with my job, and allow God to raise up the new leaders that He has already chosen.

  15. Rachel says:

    Caiaphus said that it was better for one man to die in place of the whole world. The leaders of Israel were suspicious and desired to take him from his place of authority. I am often suspicious of the authority of God and I try to be the authority instead. I can stop protecting myself by surrendering to the authority of God in my life. I can allow him to exercise his control instead of pretending like I can control my circumstances.

  16. Nick says:

    Many people believed, but others ran and told the Pharisees. He prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation. They didn’t want people to believe in him, and planned to put him to death.

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