Caiaphas said to the Pharisees, “It is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.” – John 11:50
Sometimes things do not go quite as planned. During the Civil War, a Union force clashed with a small army of Texan invaders on the banks of the Rio Grande in the New Mexico Territory. One of the Union officers, Paddy Graydon, came up with a novel plan for stopping the Confederate troops. He filled two boxes with howitzer shells and improvised two fuses. Graydon then tied the boxes to the backs of two mules, lit the fuses, and sent the mules off on a suicide mission toward the Rebel line. It all might have worked perfectly except for one thing: the mules spooked as they approached the Confederates. They turned around and began galloping back toward Graydon. Boom!
After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, many who had seen his miraculous works believed in him. The chief priests and Pharisees feared that if Jesus gained too big a following, the Romans might perceive him to be a threat and take military steps against Jerusalem, including perhaps destroying the temple and taking away the chief priests’ and Pharisees’ religious and political authority. The high priest, Caiaphas, came up with a novel plan: Kill Jesus. He told his fellow priests, “It is better that one man should die, and that his followers should scatter and never be heard from again, than that our nation should fall to the Romans.”
Sometimes things do not go quite as planned. Caiaphas succeeded in killing Jesus, but the grave could not hold Christ our Lord. Jesus’s followers scattered, but they were not silent: they spread the good news of Christ across the world. Within forty years of Jesus’s death and resurrection, the Romans invaded Jerusalem and destroyed the temple. Boom! But by then, God’s son, who had lived among us fully human and fully divine, had freed us from the notion that we could confine God’s presence to a building. We are all temples of God, and God dwells in each of us. (1 Corinthians 3:16).
We were bought with a price — Christ’s crucifixion. Now, we should arise and glorify God. (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Father, our lives are often a bustle of noise and activity. May we be still and listen for your voice. May we draw nearer to you. And may we arise and follow you. Amen.