MARCH 27. LENT. WK. 5. SAT. JN. 11.45-56
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 tell the Pharisees what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting. ‘Here is this man working all these signs’ they said ‘and what action are we taking? If we let him go on in this way everybody will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy the Holy Place and our nation.’ One of them, Caiaphas, the high priest that year, said, ‘You do not seem to have grasped the situation at all; you fail to see that it is better for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed.’ He did not speak in his own person, it was as high priest that he made this prophecy that Jesus was to die for the nation – and not for the nation only, but to gather together in unity the scattered children of God. From that day they were determined to kill him. So Jesus no longer went about openly among the Jews, but left the district for a town called Ephraim, in the country bordering on the desert, and stayed there with his disciples.
The Jewish Passover drew near, and many of the country people who had gone up to Jerusalem to purify themselves looked out for Jesus, saying to one another as they stood about in the Temple, ‘What do you think? Will he come to the festival or not?’
It is clear from this reading that Christ’s message was “getting through”, particularly after the raising of Lazarus from the dead, an event which immediately precedes this reading; - “Here is this man working all these signs’ they said ‘and what action are we taking? If we let him go on in this way everybody will believe in him!”
As a result the chief priests and the Pharisees were being put in an impossible situation with so many citizens beginning to; - “believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who had just raised a man from the dead”.
What were they to do given there was potential for “the whole nation to be destroyed’? And then the high priest came up with a perfect solution; - “it is better for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed!”
Clearly, what is happening here is that nobody is interested in discovering or acknowledging the truth; - which has now become irrelevant. The priority now has become preservation of the existing structures, where the chief priests and Pharisees could continue to rule over the people and preserve their current lifestyle.
“From that day they were determined to kill him!”
How different things could have been had these leaders chosen to listen to the Son of God, who had just raised a man from the dead as a “sign” that he was speaking the truth, and that he had been sent by God?
But, instead of seeking the truth, and allowing it to dictate how to react to this blatant miracle, the chief priests and Pharisees put their own interests first?
And while we can condemn this, is it not a fact we are guilty of doing this ourselves; - and on a regular basis; - putting our own desires and interests ahead of what we know in our heart God wants us to do? A practice Christ referred to as “sin”; - and which he will shortly give his life for; - on a Cross; - in reparation for our sins; - because of how much he loves us?