The Fulfillment of God’s Covenant

John 11: 45-57
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.

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. “This man is performing many signs. If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation.” Caiaphas, who was the high priest that year, spoke up: “You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may be saved.” As high priest for that year, he was making a prophecy that Jesus had to die for the sake of the nation. The motive of the religious leaders was political, and for them even noble, but without realizing it, their evil plot was actually working into a much greater Design.

Reflections

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 feared Him for making people believe in His works and words, and plotted to kill what their Scriptures had been prophesying all along. Caiaphas, the high priest, predicted that Jesus had to die for the nation. And yet, the death of Jesus did not prevent the Romans from eventually destroying Jerusalem. It did however fulfill the prophecy of the prophet Ezekiel (in the 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, (in today’s Responsorial Psalm) 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, and the coming Passion of our Lord Jesus, let us reflect on our belief in Jesus, and the Gospel values that we uphold. How committed are we in our faith in terms of sacrificing our time, our status, our hobbies and our resources? Realizing the depth of His love, Who willingly accepted pain and death for our sins, let us ask ourselves, are we willing to sacrifice our own comforts, and even our personal safety to give witness to our faith in Jesus and proclaim His Gospel?

Lord, may we always be ready to set aside our comfortable lives to follow Your will, to willingly suffer for the Gospel, that we may also share in Your victory and glory. Amen.

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