John 11: 45-56
Ez 37: 21-28/ Jer 31: 10-13
…it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may be saved.
(John 11: 50)
Many things may not be understood,
Such is the mystery of God’s plan;
But all things will work out for the good,
The reason why Jesus became man.
Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what he did, believed in him, but some of them went to the Pharisees to tell them 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 take our land 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 to your advantage that one man should die for the people, rather than that the whole nation should perish.’ He did not speak in his own person, but as high priest of that year he was prophesying that Jesus was to die for the nation- and not for the nation only, but also to gather together into one the scattered children of God. From that day onwards 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 was drawing near, and many of the country people who had gone up to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves were looking 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?’ The chief priests and Pharisees had by now given their orders: anyone who knew where he was must inform them so that they could arrest him.
When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, this news was brought to the Pharisees, who, together with the chief priests convened the Sanhedrin. This was the last straw. “What are we going to do?” they asked. The motive of the religious leaders was political, and for them even noble, but without realizing it, their evil plot was actually working into the Divine Plan.
The Jewish leaders were so short-sighted. They were so worried about their positions of authority they failed to see that Jesus, Who raised a man from the dead could only be God Himself walking in their midst. Instead, they took matters into their own hands and plotted to kill the Messiah that their Scriptures had been prophesying all along. Caiaphas, the high priest, predicted that Jesus had to die for the nation, but the death of Jesus did not prevent the Romans from eventually destroying Jerusalem. It did however fulfill the prophecy of the prophet Ezekiel (first reading). “Thus says the Lord God: I will take the children of Israel from among the nations to which they have come, and gather them to bring them back to their land. I will make them one nation” (Ezek.37:21). It also brought about the prophecy of Jeremiah, (Resp. Ps.) who said, “He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together, he guards them as a shepherd his flock” (Jer.31:10). Jesus Himself said, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself” (Jn. 12:32). All of these predictions fulfilled the covenant that Yahweh God gave to His people. No greater covenant of love was accomplished than the death of His own Beloved Son on the cross in Calvary.
As we prepare for Palm Sunday tomorrow, and the coming Passion of our Lord Jesus, let us reflect on the covenant that we have made with Him. Realizing the depth of His love, Who willingly accepted pain and death for our sins, let us ask ourselves if we have willingly sacrificed our own comforts for the sake of those in need.
Lord, may we always be ready to set aside our comfortable lives to follow Your will, to willingly suffer for others, that we may also share in Your victory and glory. Amen.