Letters to the Prison - Week 132

Hello, everyone.  We want to encourage you:  Firmly establish in your heart and mind exactly what it is you believe about Jesus… and then act accordingly.  Pray that we would do the same.
We’re seeing, as we study the tail end of John 11, that the “Council” that is trying to determine “what to do about Jesus” is doing precisely that –acting according to their beliefs about Jesus.  In this case, they don’t believe that Jesus is who he says he is…  so, they conclude that he must be put to death.  During this meeting, something very interesting happens.  Let’s take a look:
•But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 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.”-John 11:49-50
An essential part of our study of John’s Gospel is to examine what other people say about Jesus.  As statements go, this one is massive.  To understand why, let’s consider the source:  Caiaphas.
Caiaphas was High Priest of the temple of God in Jerusalem.  His father-in-law, Annas, was formerly the High Priest.  The two of them (and their associates) had a huge stake in the political power of their position and the profit to be gathered from the business that went on in and around the Temple.  When you’re in control of determining what is or is not an acceptable animal for sacrifice…  and you control the market for acceptable sacrificial animals… availability and pricing…and when you control the exchange rates for foreign currency… all for a constant flow of devout, God-fearing people who have travelled from all over the world and want nothing more than to do the right thing before God… at any cost… and have no other options but to submit to whatever price-gouging scam you arrange…  you begin to see the sort of business Annas and Caiaphas were in… and the myriad ways they could profit hugely from exploiting the people who sincerely wanted to worship God.  
This, among other things, is what Jesus was threatening with his claims and his signs.
So, Caiaphas, the corrupt High Priest –who was effectively a mob-boss for the organized crime in Jerusalem, is the one making the statement we’re considering.  To call what he says ironic would be a massive understatement, and we’ll see why soon.  But first, notice the arrogance:
•“You know nothing at all.  Nor do you understand…”-John 11:49b-50a
Caiaphas is talking to an assembly of some of the most highly educated, wealthy, powerful, successful, and influential men in Israel… as if they’re a bunch of clueless idiots.  Clearly, Caiaphas is a prideful man.  He is just simply full of himself.
•The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.-Proverbs 8:13
How does Caiaphas measure up to this Proverb?  Not well at all… and he’s the High Priest!  And yet, though he is speaking from his own selfish arrogance, Caiaphas does indeed speak God’s truth in this moment.  Hugely ironic.  We’ll look at it more closely next week.  We love you!

Dean A.

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