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. John 11:49 – 52 (ESV)
In response to the Jewish authorities concerns, the High Priest Caiaphas spoke words that rang true and I believe he had no idea how true his words were. He concluded that if Jesus dies, the nation of Israel will be saved. He thought if they disposed of Jesus. then Rome would have no reason to come and take their land and ultimately peace would continue. Yes, Jesus’ death would in fact save the nation of Israel from destruction, but not in the way they were thinking. Jesus’ death would bring salvation for to all who believed. The death of Jesus was inevitable, it was God’s plan of restoration. Calvary was God’s Plan A from the beginning. There was no Plan B, C, or D.
The Jewish authorities concluded that Jesus must be killed. Jesus finds out about this plot to kill him, so he goes to Ephraim, which is about a 15-mile journey from Jerusalem and located close to the wilderness. This change of location was probably strategic in case he needed to escape to the wilderness if the authorities sought him out.
The timing of all of this is not coincidental. Passover was on the horizon and this is the chief Holy day of three annual festivals for the Jews. Chapter 12 is a detailed account of God's liberation of Israel from Egypt. This Passover was a continual reminder that God passed over the Israelites when he executed the tenth and final plague on Egypt. He gives specific instructions to the Israeltites in preparation of this mass departure from Egypt. Each home is to take a lamb, without blemish and kill it on the 14th day of Abib, which would be March or April. They would drain the blood and take some of the blood to put on the door posts of the house. The lamb was to be roasted over a fire and eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. The meal was to be eaten with their belts fastened, sandals on and staff in hand, because it will be eaten in haste. The blood on the doorposts would be a sign to God to pass over the home and no plague would befall the household.
This Passover meal was instituted as a yearly celebration to commemorate what the LORD had done in setting the people of Israel free from slavery. The institution of this observance is to show God's love for His people, Israel and they are to remember this until the end of time. The Passover was and remains a highly significant observance, not only to the Jewish nation, but to us Christians as well. Passover reminds us that Jesus was the perfect Lamb, without blemish, who was sacrificed in our place. His shed blood has the power to cleanse us of our sins and the power to protect us from the judgment of God. Through Jesus we are set free from the captivity of sin. Because of Jesus we are no longer slaves to sin, but now slaves to righteousness. The Jews figured Jesus would come for the ritual of cleansing in Jerusalem, so they devised a plot to arrest Jesus when He came.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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