Thursday 14 August 2014

Bible Book:

“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.” (v. 48)

John 11:45-57 Thursday 14 August 2014


No good deed goes unpunished, or so they say. So on hearing thenews of Lazarus' miraculous recovery, the Pharisees and chiefpriests called an emergency meeting to decide what to do about 'theJesus Problem'.

Namely, that many people had witnessed the extraordinary signsperformed by Jesus and - as a direct consequence - "believed inhim" (v. 45). The passage doesn't tell us exactly what peoplebelieved about Jesus, but the response of the Jewish authoritiesgives us an idea.

In the first century, religious Jews were waiting for a Messiah.There were various ideas about what this Messiah would look likeand what he would achieve - but people were agreed that he wouldcome to save God's people from oppression. In Jesus' day, thedominant understanding of the messiah was that he would be a strongwarrior who would free the Jews from the tyranny of Roman rule.

This is why the Pharisees and chief priests were gettingtwitchy. If people began to believe that Jesus was the Messiah(even if they were wrong) the Roman authorities might feelthreatened and clamp down on what little freedoms the Jews werepermitted. We see this most strongly in verse 48 (above).

It was horribly simple: Jesus was a threat to national security.So they planned to put him to death. Lazarus was the last straw andJesus must pay with his life for the life he saved.

Only Caiaphas seemed to understand that this was bigger eventhan the Roman occupation (verses 49-52). It was not only the fateof the Jewish people in Israel that was at stake - but the fate ofall nations.

To Ponder

  • To what extent is seeing believing?
  • As a threat to national security, how might Jesus have beentreated by the authorities today?
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