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Lent - Day 23

Day 23  Monday



That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1: 3).


John 11: 47-53
The chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the Council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 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.” He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not only for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.
Matthew 26: 57-68
Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered. And Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and going inside he sat with the guards to see the end. Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. . . . And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spit in his face and struck him. 


The Council, called the Sanhedrin, was comprised of 70 members. The chief priest elected for the year presided over the meetings.  
The first passage describes a Council meeting before Passion Week when they discussed the “Jesus Problem.” There is quite a bit of irony in Caiaphas’ prophecy, which John takes time to explain to us. Politically, it was better for the nation’s peace to put one rabbi to death than allow the crowds he gathered to incite a Roman reaction. This is the old “greater good” argument used by authorities to justify unjust actions. But, of course, the Triune God remained in sovereign control. This one man would die for the nation, indeed for the world. But not to preserve a temporary political peace or for economic stability. He died to redeem us from sin and death. Jesus’ enemies became his unwitting partners in our salvation!
The second passage concerns the summoning of the council to try Jesus that Thursday night following his arrest. Think what urgency it takes to get 70 people together for an all night meeting! 
Having made the choice to “drink the cup of his Father’s will,” Jesus made little defense against the confused and false choices brought against him. His calm silence infuriated them all the more. When Caiaphas asked him directly about his identity, Jesus made a clear connection between a crucial prophecy and himself.  
Daniel 7: 13-14 envisions a time when “. . . there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples . . . should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away. . . . ” This was a key passage about the day when the LORD would send a glorious Redeemer to set all things right. The “Son of Man” was equivalent to the Messiah, a divine figure, and the hope of all Israel. That Jesus would claim such a passage as being about himself would have sounded like ridiculous blasphemy. For clearly, the world was not yet being put right. Or was it?!


There’s a Caiaphas in me, Lord,
Whenever I don’t want anything to change.
When my sight is so dim
That I can’t even glimpse what you are doing.
When my faith is so small 
That I think you have forgotten.
I do not believe you will do again 
What you have always done:
Turn ashes into beauty,
Restore the years eaten by the locust,
Bring what is lame back to strength,
Reconcile enemies,
Raise life out of death.
I try to swat you away.
Make do with my meager compromises.
Snuff out new beginnings and new life.
Treat your call as a threat.
Cling to my crumbs and never let go.
Lord Jesus, I have failed to see
How you are the fulfillment of all I want.
The ruin of “my life my way”
Is the gateway to everlasting life.
You died for the good of all.
I thought that meant getting rid of you,
But what blessed relief that you return again and again.
These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20: 31).


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