The Plot To Kill Jesus
(Matthew 26.1-5; Mark 14.1,2; Luke 22.1,2)
45Many of the people who had come to visit Mary saw the things Jesus did, and they put their faith in him. 46Others went to the Pharisees and told what Jesus had done. 47Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called the council together and said, “What should we do? This man is working a lot of miracles. 48If we don't stop him now, everyone will put their faith in him. Then the Romans will come and destroy our temple and our nation.”
49One of the council members was Caiaphas, who was also high priest that year. He spoke up and said, “You people don't have any sense at all! 50Don't you know it is better for one person to die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed?” 51Caiaphas did not say this on his own. As high priest that year, he was prophesying that Jesus would die for the nation. 52Yet Jesus would not die just for the Jewish nation. He would die to bring together all of God's scattered people. 53From that day on, the council started making plans to put Jesus to death.
54Because of this plot against him, Jesus stopped going around in public. He went to the town of Ephraim, which was near the desert, and he stayed there with his disciples.
55It was almost time for Passover. Many of the Jewish people who lived out in the country had come to Jerusalem to get themselves ready for the festival. 56They looked around for Jesus. Then when they were in the temple, they asked each other, “You don't think he will come here for Passover, do you?”
57The chief priests and the Pharisees told the people to let them know if any of them saw Jesus. This is how they hoped to arrest him.
I was sitting on the floor in a meditative church service. The worship leader had been talking about brokenness. How sometimes we can feel lost, but that Jesus wants to reach out to everyone and bring them to a saving, light-filled, restoring relationship with him. Then he read chapter 11 of John’s Gospel, about the death of Lazarus. My eyes were closed. The words were so familiar I could practically recite along with them. Then he said one thing which made my eyes snap open in surprise.
“…(H)e prophesied that Jesus would die … not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.”
The scattered children of God. The phrase struck me so deeply, I actually grabbed a Bible to read it for myself, as I found myself thinking, “He means us!”
There, in the middle of the gripping chronicle of Lazarus’ resurrection and the plot to kill Jesus, is the reminder that this narrative is not just about them. It’s about us.
We who are the scattered people of God – spread around the world and across the centuries. We who are broken and lost. We who call on his name. We are the ones he died for, to bring us together in himself, and make us one.
Dear Lord, Thank you so much that we were on your mind when you died on the cross and rose again. It is a fact so incredible that I can barely comprehend it sometimes. Thank you that you died to bring all your scattered children together into one people. Amen.