Saturday, January 14, 2012

John 11 46 to 57

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.
49 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.
53 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.
55 And the Jews' passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves.
56 Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast?
57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.

Key Observation:
Caiaphas foretells that one person should die for the whole nation, illustrating God’s exact will being done as free and evil choices are being made by men.

The plan to kill Jesus is becoming sharply honed and defined. I need to remember the context when reading these verses. Having read Ezra this morning, I do remember the greatest danger to Israel again and again. Their top religious leaders were replaced frequently by the kings who had overtaken them. In some cases, the very legitimate kings of Israel were deposed by their attackers, and replaced with puppet kings. Jerusalem belonged to other nations, and at the time of Christ, belonged as a part of the Roman Empire. Those who captured Jerusalem were always to find the Jewish spirit to be unconquerable; time and again the Jewish resistance would come to fruition. Six hundred years had gone by since Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed Jerusalem, but Rome was going to find it necessary to destroy Jerusalem yet again. Josephus tells of over one million Jews being killed in A.D. 70, with as many as 500 per day being crucified, often in different positions to please the whims of the soldiers.

It was this kind of atmosphere that Caiaphas was speaking to; I find it marvelous that God used the very words of Caiaphas to foreshadow and predict the suffering of my Savior. Jesus laid down his life, the Bible teaches, and no one takes it from Him. Yet, the very plans of many wicked men was to do precisely that, and when I read John, I see many times when Jesus seems to escape death, only to allow Himself to be betrayed and taken at the very end.

I remember that John has shown Jesus becoming very popular; many seemed to misunderstand Jesus and wanted to make Him king, and this would be a definite problem to the Jewish leaders, interested in keeping Rome happy (probably appointees of the Romans). We are just before the triumphal entry, when Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem, and evidently there were large crowds (John says “great crowd”) taking palm branches and blessing the King of Israel. Caiaphas, seeing that Rome would not allow another king, but would put down any such uprising, saw that killing Jesus would be the best way to prevent the destruction of his nation.

John adds a parenthetical verse to Caiaphas’ statement: “And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.” There are many hints of Gentiles being included in the plan of God. These are the children of God that John is talking about. That means you and me. I am told that for the Jew, the word “Gentile” was a term of derision—comparable to our using “heathen” to describe a foreign people. The Jews considered all others to be heathen or Gentiles, yet there are many places in Scripture that talk about the plan of God including Gentiles. Let me list some of them:
1) Luke 14- The parable of the great banquet—“Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.” We Gentiles are the poor and the crippled.
2) Acts 10- “The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.”
3) Galatians 2- “On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews.”
4) Zechariah 14- “The Lord will be king over the whole earth.” “And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord Almighty.” The Canaanite mentioned here is figuratively used to mean “non-Jew”. That means you and me.
5) Isaiah 11- “They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”

God’s plan from the beginning was set. In Genesis 3, when man is cast out of the garden, God clothed them, Adam and Eve, with the skins of animals, thus prefiguring the blood sacrifice that Jesus was going to pay. “He shall crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” It was the plan of God all along that salvation should come to the Gentiles. Are you not glad to be included, if you be one of those who believes God? I am so thankful that He included me too!

He Included Me

I am so happy in Christ today,
That I go singing along my way;
Yes, I’m so happy to know and say,
“Jesus included me, too.”
Jesus included me, yes, He included me,
When the Lord said, “Whosoever,” He included me;
Jesus included me, yes, He included me,
When the Lord said, “Whosoever,” He included me.
Gladly I read, “Whosoever may
Come to the fountain of life today”;
But when I read it I always say,
“Jesus included me, too.”
Ever God’s Spirit is saying, “Come!”
Hear the Bride saying, “No longer roam”;
But I am sure while they’re calling home,
Jesus included me, too.
“Freely come drink,” words the soul to thrill!
O with what joy they my heart do fill!
For when He said, “Whosoever will,”
Jesus included me, too.

by Johnson Oatman Jr.

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