The Fulfillment of God’s Covenant

John 11:45-56
Eze 37:21-28 / Jer 31

…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.

That was a turnaround for many of the Jews who were with Mary. They saw what Jesus did, and believed in Him. But some went back to the Pharisees and told on Jesus. The high priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the Jewish ruling body. “What do we do now?” they asked. “This man keeps on doing things, creating God-signs. If we let him go on, pretty soon everyone will be believing in him and the Romans will come and remove what little power and privilege we still have.” Then one of them—it was Caiaphas, the designated Chief Priest that year—spoke up, “Don’t you know anything? Can’t you see that it’s to our advantage that one man dies for the people rather than the whole nation be destroyed?” He didn’t say this of his own accord, but as Chief Priest that year he unwittingly prophesied that Jesus was about to die sacrificially for the nation, and not only for the nation but so that all God’s exile-scattered children might be gathered together into one people. From that day on, they plotted to kill him. So Jesus no longer went out in public among the Jews. He withdrew into the country bordering the desert to a town called Ephraim and secluded himself there with his disciples. The Jewish Passover was coming up. Crowds of people were making their way from the country up to Jerusalem to get themselves ready for the Feast. They were curious about Jesus. There was a lot of talk of him among those standing around in the Temple: “What do you think? Do you think he’ll show up at the Feast or not?” (John 11: 45-56

Reflection

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. They plotted to kill Jesus, which for them was a noble act, but without realizing it, their evil plot was actually working into the plan of a much greater design.

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. Psa.) 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 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.

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