Have you ever asked yourself, “Why would anyone do something like that?” For example, I will never understand people’s fascination with fear and adrenaline. I mean… I used to wonder at some people’s desire to ride rollercoaster’s… or jump out of perfectly fine airplanes. But now there are those who jump off bridges with a rubber band attached to them!
And I can remember as a youth… long before “bungee jumping” was even thought of in the Western World… seeing pictures in my dads National Geographic of African tribesmen doing this very thing with vines attached to their feet as they jumped off tall trees or cliffs. Now years later…it’s made its way to
America. I just can’t see the logic here! To me… it’s absolutely insane!
I will never understand the reasoning behind sitting on the back of an animal whose only purpose at that point is to throw you off and kill you for sitting on his back. It’s almost like… He took it personal! But we see this every time we attend
own Gladiatorial Games which we call Rodeo’s.
I mean… bronc riding is one thing… but bulls? Now that’s just crazy!
Oh, and that jumping out of airplanes thing that I mentioned… Did you know that there are people who do that… intentionally… without parachutes! There are also people who intentionally swim with sharks… and walk among wild African lions… handle deadly snakes… and walk alone and unprotected through the streets of
Chicago… AT NIGHT!
There are a multitude of things that humans do that are illogical… mind boggling… and just flat out insane. I can’t understand why they do these things, or what pushes them to defy death in such a manner. I mean… about the craziest and most dangerous thing you’ll see me do is drive my car without buckling up my seatbelt.
But as incomprehensible as these things are to me… something most of them… or all of them have in common is that they’re things that we do to ourselves. If something goes wrong… we are the ones that suffer the pain, broken bones or even death.
So if there are these things that we do to ourselves that are incomprehensible… how much more incomprehensible are those things that we do to our fellow man?
Why do people do things to hurt other people? Now, its one thing to do something that has the unintended result of hurting someone else. Accidents do happen. But why do people do things with the express intent of causing harm to someone else?
Of all those things that we do that boggle the mind… this is by far and away the most baffling and bewildering… Man’s inhumanity to Man defies logic.
There are those who do things to other people that have the sole intent of causing harm to another person… or group. They’ll do it with intent and malice… simply because they can.
Psa 64:2-5 KJV Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity: (3) Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: (4) That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not. (5) They encourage themselves in an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them?
This is what I truly don’t understand. People who plan to do evil… and intentionally do evil… simply because they’re evil. They enjoy hurting people… destroying their lives… and ruining their livelihoods.
Sometimes they do it because they’ll gain something from it. And that’s usually money. Other times they will lie, cheat, or steal simply to see how much destruction they can cause.
Lying tongues have irreparably damaged lives… caused marriages to be broken… caused good and honest men and women to stay away from political office… and brought about the downfall of many godly ministers and ministries.
And it seems that no one is immune… Matter-of-fact… those who are doing what’s right and good are the most susceptible. Myself included. After years of faithful service as a volunteer in the prison system… men whom I thought were Christian… or maybe moving in that direction… created lies about me in order to embarrass, humiliate, and ruin the ministry that God has given me.
And I don’t understand why. I’ve done them no wrong, but have only showed Christ’s love toward them. Someone might say, “Well, they’re prisoners. They’re not in there because they sang too loud in church.”
But the truth is… these things happen outside the prison with much more frequency than inside. Practically every day, a pastor or other church member is brought to ruin because of gossip. And it’s one thing to have these arrows shot at you from the ungodly… but when the archer is a Christian, or at least someone who “claims” Christ… then it’s especially hurtful.
And it’s at times like this that the one that’s under assault can truly identify with David’s sorrow after his trusted advisor, Ahithophel, abandoned him for his son, Absalom.
Psa 41:9 KJV Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
But you know what? Jesus told us that… Joh 15:18 KJV If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
And as Paul told Timothy… 2Ti 3:12 KJV Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
And throughout the NT… we see the very same thing happening to Jesus, over and over again…. Evil people… plotting evil things… to cause harm to someone who only loved them, spoke truth and tried to point the way to salvation.
The Jewish religious leaders hated Jesus. And when they discovered that He was near… and had just done the greatest miracle of all time… raising a man from the dead after he had been dead for 4 days…
They do as evil does… They gathered together behind closed doors in order to plan out their evil intentions…
I. The Concerned Council
Joh 11:45-48 KJV Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. (46) But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. (47) Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. (48) If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
Considering the enormity of the miracle they had just witnessed… it’s remarkable that anyone would come away from this a non-believer. We’re told that many did believe… but that statement is qualified in a word… “But”.
“But”—what an ominous word. It connects one statement with another. It acknowledges the truthfulness of the first statement… and then gives notice that an exception follows.
Many “believed on Him”… Joh 11:46 KJV But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.
Almost everywhere Jesus went, He was followed by three types of people… those who believed… those who were only hanging around for the next “show”… and those who were plain, out and out spies.
I’m sure that there may have been some among these who went to the Pharisees in
in order to tell them about this miracle of miracles, in an effort to sway
their thinking… “He’s raised the
dead! How can He NOT be the Messiah?”
But others among their number were simply spies and rushed back to tattle on Christ once again. And the news that they brought was so remarkable that it caused a temporary truce between two groups who hated each other… the Sadducees and Pharisees.
You see… before now… it was primarily the Pharisees who had been plotting how to murder Christ. But they didn’t have the judicial authority to do anything about it. That belonged to the Sanhedrin, which was dominated by the Sadducees… the chief priests.
And neither of these groups got along. But the old adage that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, held true… and it brought two opposing groups together to plan a course of action.
In their minds… Jesus posed an imminent threat to their authority… and their way of life. They couldn’t deny the obvious miracles He had done, because too many people had witnessed them. And they were sure that if He were allowed to continue doing these things… they’d lose everything!
Joh 11:48 KJV If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
They’re concern isn’t that Jesus had performed miracles that gave evidence to His Messianic claims… but that they might lose their temple and their nation.
They claimed to be waiting for the promised Messiah… but when He arrived, and provided proof of who He was… and they acknowledged that these proofs were genuine… instead of bending their knees and calling Him LORD… they only think of themselves, and their station in life.
No amount of evidence will bring anyone to repentance. We can argue till we’re “blue in the face”… but those who haven’t been moved upon by the Holy Spirit of God are still “dead in their trespasses and sins” and they will not believe. Unbelief is a far more deeply seated disease than many people think it is!
And it’s at this point that the High Priest gathers all the factions together… and unifies them with…
II. The Corrupt Counsel
Joh 11:49-52 KJV And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, (50) Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. (51) And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; (52) And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.
The council thought that Jesus represented a threat to them… but what to do about Him… they had no idea. Up to this point, they simply asked each other questions… and then the High Priest sweeps in, and brusquely and contemptuously… swept aside all their discussions.
Joh 11:49b-50 KJV Ye know nothing at all, (50) Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.
“All of you are ignorant and uneducated fools. Stop disputing and arguing, one way or the other about this guy. What needs to be done is obvious. He has to be killed and it doesn’t matter who or what He is. This man must die… in order that we might live!”
Caiaphas spoke like an unscrupulous politician who is willing to sacrifice truth and righteousness in order to maintain the status quo or advance the Party’s interests. Sounds real familiar to us today, doesn’t it? Especially coming so soon after a Presidential election…
They were so concerned that with such a large influx of people coming to Jerusalem in just a short while, for the Passover… who might get so caught up in these miracles of Jesus… and in Messianic zeal… that Rome would consider it a rebellion and destroy everything… and carry everyone off into captivity.
So their solution is to blame everything on Christ… and throw Him to the wolves… so that their temple and nation would be spared. And what’s so ironic here is that the very thing they feared would happen if they didn’t kill Jesus… actually did happen some 37 years later with the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 AD by Titus.
But what the Jewish leaders intended for evil… God intended for good. God took the immoral intentions of the godless and turned it around into not only a prophecy of what was to come… the sacrificial death of the Lamb of God… but also causing the leader of the godless into making an open declaration of the gospel message!
Caiaphas is on the record for eternity… declaring the vicarious death and sacrificial atonement of Christ!
And the Holy Spirit emphasizes this very thing by adding the notation… Joh 11:51 KJV And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; (52) And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.
Jesus had said that if man didn’t praise God… He’d make the very rocks to cry out… This time however, God caused the rock hard heart of the unbelieving High Priest to sing out His glories!
Just like Balaam of old… Caiaphas uttered a prophecy of honor over the very One he despised.
From the human side… the death of Christ was a brutal murder for political gain… but from the Divine side… the death of Christ was a vicarious sacrifice for sinners. It was God making the wrath of men to praise Him.
The greatest crime ever done in the world… turned out to be the greatest blessing ever given to the world. – (Dr MacLaren)
III. The Criminal Conspiracy
Joh 11:53-54 KJV Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death. (54) Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.
From this point on… the only concern left for the religious leaders was how to capture Jesus without causing an uproar among the people. There would be no trial… He had just had that.
His trial and sentencing had been carried out “in absentia”. All that remained were the logistics of carrying it out.
Not only did “his own” not “receive” Him when He came unto them, and not only was He “despised and rejected of men”… but they thirsted for His blood too, and wouldn’t be satisfied until they drank deeply of it.
And Jesus knew of this decision by the council. This knowledge could be another display of His omniscience… or it could be because some who were a part of this council (such as Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathea), came and told Him of its decision.
But however this knowledge came to Him… just as He had done in the past when men attempted to thwart the counsel and purpose of God… He left and… Joh 11:54 KJV …walked no more openly among the Jews
He removed Himself from the area and went to a place we know very little of, named Ephraim. He didn’t leave out of fear… or to hide from His Father’s call… but as He did before… to remove Himself from danger until the appointed time.
The Father’s purpose would go forth to the very end… and no one would stop it.
And just as Caiaphas had said in that council meeting… Jesus would die in the place of many. And though he didn’t comprehend the full measure of what he had said… we do.
We know that it was for this very purpose that Jesus came into the world. To die on the cross for our sins so that anyone who believes in Him will never die!
Our debt has been paid… our salvation was won… and our eternity is secure. And all of this is appropriated by grace… through faith.
We did nothing to earn it… not a single one deserves it… and we can do nothing to keep it.