The plot to kill Jesus
45Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. 46But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.
“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. 48If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place[c] and our nation.”
49Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
51He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
54Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the Jews. Instead he withdrew to a region near the desert, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.
55When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover. 56They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple area they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the Feast at all?” 57But the chief priests and Pharisees had given orders that if anyone found out where Jesus was, he should report it so that they might arrest him.
John 11:48 Or temple
Can you imagine yourself in the crowd outside of Lazarus’ tomb when the dead man walked from the darkness of the tomb and into the light of day? Would you believe a dead man was resurrected, or would you think it some sort of trickery?
The interesting thing about the Scriptures we are reading today is that the Chief Priests and Pharisees of the Sanhedrin did not suffer from disbelief. Instead, they were concerned that if Jesus were left alone to perform even more miracles that everyone would believe He was the Messiah, and the Romans would take both the temple and the nation, perhaps even dispersing the Jews again.
It is hard for us to understand how religion and politics were so intertwined during the time Jesus lived. And, for those of us who live in the United States we still are sometimes unable to comprehend the blending of these two elements that still exists in places like Iran and Iraq today. The fact is that the Sanhedrin (a judicial body made up of leaders from each sector in Israel) were less concerned with whether Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Messiah than with the possible negative implications toward the power they enjoyed by virtue of the Roman authorities.
I was talking with some Christians the other day who are also of Jewish descent. In fact one of them was raised in the Jewish faith and later converted to Christianity. They were attending a Bible study where the leader boldly proclaimed that the Jews were to blame for Jesus’ death.
It has been almost 2000 years since Jesus died yet we are still accusing the Jews of His death? Neither the Jews nor the Romans killed Jesus, but merely played their part in the sacrifice that was planned from the foundation of the world. Jesus left His home in heaven, voluntarily, to be born into this world to become the spotless lamb for sinnners slain (Phil 2:5-11). Jesus allowed the authorities to capture Him, voluntarily, and sentence Him to death upon a cross. And, Jesus remained on the cross, voluntarily, until He had taken the sins of the world upon Himself and His blood was shed to cover those sins and restore each of us to a right relationship with God the Father. Lastly, Jesus’ body remained entombed for three days, voluntarily, until He arose on that first Easter morning, victorious over sin, death and hell.
Do not be deceived. Regardless of how powerful the Sanhedrin thought itself to be, regardless of how much authority the Romans carried, neither of them could have captured, tried and put to death our Lord without His consent. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” John 3:16.