The Pharisees Plot To Kill Jesus
By Steph Nickel
In the following blog Stephanie Nickel, discusses the aftermath of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. The Pharisees begin to plot to kill Jesus, demonstrating their poor spiritual leadership.
The Plot To Kill Jesus
John 11:45-53 (ESV) reads this way:
“Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, ‘What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.’ But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.’ He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.”
It’s easy to point fingers and accuse the chief priests and Pharisees of wrongdoing. And yes, they were guilty of plotting to kill Jesus and eventually carrying out their plans.
And yet . . . God’s wondrous plans were coming to pass in the midst of this selfish injustice. It says in Isaiah 55:9 that the Lord’s plans—and even His thoughts—are higher than ours.
And we must never forget that Jesus died because my sin—and yours—would keep us out of heaven no matter how nice we are or how many good deeds we perform. In a sense, we were right there with these chief priests and Pharisees, plotting and planning.
And it isn’t just our words and actions that get us into trouble. Consider the discussion that took place all those years ago. “If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”
These prominent members of society were supposed to give spiritual leadership to the people, to study the Scriptures, and make them understandable to the people in their charge. But what obviously mattered more to them was their position. They didn’t want the Romans to come and take away what they were clinging to tightly too.
You see, the Romans ruled this part of the world at that time. As long as things went smoothly, the Jews could run their own affairs . . . and these religious leaders liked it that way.
We, too, can become comfortable—even arrogant—about all God has done for us—as if it was in some way our own doing. None of us deserve God’s mercy and grace and the rich blessings He pours out. As it says in Romans 3:10, “None is righteous, no, not one.”
And if He has given us any type of leadership responsibilities, we are to honour and glorify Him and bless others. (A number of days ago I pointed out that each of us has influence over at least a handful of other people and we must, in God’s strength, set a good example and speak the truth at all times.) That is our responsibility—something we can only do with God’s strength and motivation.
We must step up. The Bible makes it clear that we have responsibilities before God and before others. We cannot excuse our failure to do so by pointing to God’s sovereignty. We are more than pawns in some great cosmic game of chess. On this side of eternity, will we be able to fully understand how our responsibility and God’s sovereignty work together? No.
While the religious leaders schemed, the plan set in motion from eternity past was nearing completion. And yet, did this absolve them of personal responsibility. Not at all. We know that there were religious leaders who believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah, men like Nicodemus, for example.
In fact, there is every evidence that the leadership as a whole recognized that God had sent Jesus to walk among them. However, they wanted to serve God on their terms. May we be careful not to examine our own lives and make sure we are not doing the same thing.
And may we trust God to work things out—even when we do fall short.
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Images courtesy of:
Jesus and the Pharisees: James Tissot
Leading the Pack: Ulrik De Wachter
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