Prophecy of God’s Covenant

John 11: 45-56
Ezek 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 as 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 seen what Jesus did, believed in Him, but some of them went to the Pharisees to report what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, ‘What are we going to do? 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 the Holy Place 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 better for you that one man should die for the people, rather than that the whole nation should perish.’ He did not say this on his own, but as high priest of that year he was prophesying that Jesus was to die for the nation and not only for the nation, but also to gather together into one the scattered children of God. From that day on 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 near 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?’ (John 11:45-56)

Reflections

As high priest for that year, Caiaphas was making a prophecy that Jesus had to die for the sake of the nation. It was obvious that the motive of the religious leaders was political, and hypocritically, “noble”, because during the trial of Jesus before Pilate, the Roman consul did not believe that He was a political threat to the Romans at all (Lk.23:1-16). Without realizing it however, the evil plot that they were hatching in the Sanhedrin 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 promise 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 own pledges that we have made with Him. How much do we trust God in the midst of our own sufferings and “unanswered” prayers? Realizing the depth of His love, Who willingly accepted pain and death for our sins, how much of our own comforts and privileges have we sacrificed for the sake of those in dire need?

Lord Jesus, may we always be ready to leave our comfort zones to follow Your will, to willingly suffer for others, that we may also share in Your victory and glory. Amen.

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