St John 11: 45 – 55
Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what he had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council, and said, ‘What are we to do? This man is performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.’ But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all! You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.’ He did not say this on his own, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was about to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the dispersed children of God. So from that day on they planned to put him to death.
Jesus therefore no longer walked about openly among the Jews, but went from there to a town called Ephraim in the region near the wilderness; and he remained there with the disciples.
Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. They were looking for Jesus and were asking one another as they stood in the temple, ‘What do you think? Surely he will not come to the festival, will he?’ Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who knew where Jesus was should let them know, so that they might arrest him.
We read of some very different reactions to Jesus, many believed and others were afraid of the Roman authority’s reaction. Caiaphas recognised that one man could die for a nation. John wrote that Caiaphas prophesied that Jesus was about to die. Caiaphas was speaking a prophecy that was given to him by God. He spoke the words, but did he really realise the full significance of what was going to happen? It is easy for us to understand the significance of what was about to happen to Jesus but how could anyone know in advance that Jesus would die then rise again?
There were different reactions in the account. How do people react today when they hear the truth about Jesus? Many do believe and despite the numbers who attend Church falling over the past two pandemic dominated years there is no suggestion that less people believe.
Many people went up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. It seems that a lot of these people were talking about Jesus. They wondered where He was. We may ask the same question, “where has Jesus been for the last two years?”. We know the true answer, He has been constantly with us, offering comfort and support to those living in fear, uncertainty or distress. We are living in very uncertain times (as I write this the war in the Ukraine is raging). As Christians we need to remember that we have a constant in our lives, we have the Holy Spirit. As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” We have this certainty today because of the events that happened at the time of Passover we have been reading about.
We thank you for being with us even when we don’t realise that You are near,
Help us to trust you more deeply day by day,
We thank you that even when we see empty places in our churches You are there,
We ask you to bring comfort to all who are living with fear or distress
We thank you for the events that happened in Jerusalem so long ago and most of all we thank you that we know you will never leave us.