Friday, April 3, 2009

Daily - 4/3/09

John 11:46-56

46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.

47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, "What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs.

48 If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation."

49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing,

50 nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish."

51 He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation,

52 and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.

53 So from that day on they planned to kill him.

54 So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews, but he left for the region near the desert, to a town called Ephraim, and there he remained with his disciples.

55 Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before Passover to purify themselves.

56 They looked for Jesus and said to one another as they were in the temple area, "What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?"

We've moved on from winter to spring, just before Passover. Verses 1-45 describe the seventh and last sign of John's gospel, the raising of Lazarus from the dead. This reading describes the immediate aftermath.

The Pharisees have tried to kill Jesus before, and weren't able to do it on their own. Jesus has too many followers now, and if things go on as they are going, they will lose control of their people. THAT means that the Romans will have to tighten their grip to maintain order, and the Pharisees will lose their status and their property. They can't let that happen.

They convene the Sanhedrin, which was the ancient supreme court of the Jews. The Sanhedrin consisted of 71 members, and most think that the high priest (Caiaphas at the time) served as President. The decision is made.

A couple of things I've always been amazed with at this passage:

1. The response of the Sanhedrin. Jesus just raised a man from the dead, in public. They know that he has "performed many miracles." Yet still, even now, they are blind to his true nature.

2. The prophecy of Caiaphas. How is it that prophecy comes from a wicked man? Here's an answer from better minds than mine -- St. John Chrysostom (347 - 407 A.D.), and a clarification from St. Augustine (354 - 430 A.D.) -- two Doctors of the Church.

CHRYSOSTOM. See the great virtue of the Holy Spirit, in drawing forth a prophecy from a wicked man. And see too the virtue of the pontifical office, which made him, though an unworthy High Priest, unconsciously prophesy. Divine grace only used his mouth; it touched not his corrupt heart.

AUGUSTINE. Caiaphas prophesied of the Jewish nation alone; in which nation were the sheep, of which our Lord says, I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. But the Evangelist knew that there were other sheep, not of this fold, which were to be brought in, and therefore adds, And not for that nation only, but also that He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad; i.e. those who were predestined to be so: for as yet there were neither sheep, nor children of God.