The Plot To Kill Jesus
Once again Jesus amazes everyone around Him.
How does He raise Lazarus?
What kind of man can speak life into death’s darkness?
Throughout His time on earth, those around Him are continually surprised by Jesus. He is unique.
How does He have power over death?
It takes a while, but more and more His followers become convinced this is no ordinary man.
As a result, many of the Jews who had come with Mary saw what happened and believed in Him. But some went to the Pharisees to report what they witnessed Jesus doing.
John 11:45-46 (VOICE)
Jesus performed the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead out in the open, in front of many people. He did this so that the people watching would believe that He was God’s Son, and put their trust in Him (John 11:42). Many people put their faith in Him. But some of the people went to the Pharisees to tell them what Jesus had done.
Remember, the Pharisees were the Jewish religious leaders. They were supposed to teach and model God’s love, but they did not have love or mercy in their hearts (Matthew 23:4, 23). Jesus had many things to say against these men (Matthew 23).
The Pharisees had become very proud (Matthew 23:5). They thought they were better than other people. They cared more about themselves than other people (Matthew 23:25). The Pharisees knew that God had promised to send the Messiah. But sadly, they did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. All they could see was that if people started believing in Jesus, the people would no longer follow them. They were afraid to lose their wealth and power.
The Pharisees and chief priests held a meeting to decide what to do about Jesus.
As a result of these reports—and on short notice—the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the high council.
Pharisees: What are we going to do about this man? He is performing many miracles. If we don’t stop this now, every man, woman, and child will believe in Him. You know what will happen next? The Romans will think He’s mounting a revolution and will destroy our temple. It will be the end of our nation.
Caiaphas, the High Priest That Year: You have no idea what you are talking about; what you don’t understand is that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people so the whole nation won’t perish.
His speech was more than it seemed. As high priest that year, Caiaphas prophesied (without knowing it) that Jesus would die on behalf of the entire nation, and not just for the children of Israel—He would die so all God’s children could be gathered from the four corners of the world into one people. In that moment, they cemented their intentions to have Jesus executed.
John 11:47-53 (VOICE)
It was necessary that the Jewish council (Sanhedrin) meets and discusses what to do with Jesus. They were not seeking after truth; they were seeking for ways to protect their own selfish interests. If He gathered too many followers, He might get the attention of the Roman authorities; and this could hurt the Jewish cause.
The high priest, Caiaphas, was a Sadducee, not a Pharisee (Acts 23:6-10); but the two factions could always get together to fight a common enemy. Unknown to himself and to the council, Caiaphas uttered a divine prophecy: Jesus would die for the nation so that the nation would not perish. “He was struck down for the rebellion of my people“ (Isa. 53:8).
True to his vision of a worldwide family of God, John added his inspired explanation: Jesus would die not only for the Jews, but also for all of God’s children who would be gathered together in one heavenly family.
The official decision that day was that Jesus must die (see Matt. 12:14; Luke 19:47; John 5:18; 7:1, 19-20, 25). The leaders thought that they were in control of the situation, but it was God who was working out His predetermined plan (Acts 2:23). Originally, they wanted to wait until after the Passover, but God had decreed otherwise.
From that day forward, Jesus refrained from walking publicly among the people in Judea. He withdrew to a small town known as Ephraim, a rural area near the wilderness, where He set up camp with His disciples.
The Passover was approaching, and Jews everywhere traveled to Jerusalem early so they could purify themselves and prepare for Passover. People were looking for Jesus, hoping to catch a glimpse of Him in the city. All the while, some Jews were discussing Him in the temple.
Some Jews: Do you think He will decide not to come to Jerusalem this year for the feast?
In the midst of this confusion, the Pharisees and the chief priests ordered that if anyone knew the whereabouts of Jesus of Nazareth, it must be reported immediately so they could arrest Him.
John 11:54-57 (VOICE)
Jesus withdrew to Ephraim, about fifteen miles north of Jerusalem; and there He remained in quiet retirement with His disciples. The crowd was gathering in Jerusalem for the Passover feast, and the pilgrims were wondering if Jesus would attend the feast even though He was in danger. He was now on the “wanted” list, because the council had made it known that anyone who knew where Jesus was must report it to the officials.
John 11 reveals the deity of Jesus Christ and the utter depravity of the human heart. The rich man in hades had argued, “If someone goes to them from the dead, they will be sorry for their sins and turn from them.” (Luke 16:30). Lazarus came back from the dead, and the officials wanted to kill him!
Miracles certainly reveal the power of God, but of themselves they cannot communicate the grace of God.
The stage had been set for the greatest drama in history, during which man would do his worst and God would give His best.