A Death to End Death
Today’s reading: John 11:17-12:50
My selection: John 11: 47-53
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.
My reflections: The true motivations of the chief priests and Pharisees are laid bare here. They were concerned about maintaining their power and their esteem before the public (12:42-43). This is the danger which power and position brings: to be so blinded by the allurement of the kingdom of this world as to be unable to see the obvious truth. What would Jesus have to do to be more convincing as to His identity? He raised a man from the dead. The miracle was completely credible so that it could not be denied.
The authorities desperately consult about how to stop Him. The high priest unwittingly makes a true statement. Jesus will die for the people. More than that, John adds, He died “to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.” Jesus’ death, rather than defeat His purposes and ministry, would catapult Him onto the stage of human history as the true Savior of the world. His cause goes on as He calls to Himself His people from every tribe, nation, and tongue.
My challenge: Be confident in the Lord’s victory. No earthly power can stand against Him. He has triumphed and His conquest will ultimately be revealed. Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father! John Owens’ classic title says it well, “the death of death [has come] in the death of Christ.” Tell the news!
Tomorrow’s reading: John 13:1-15:17