John 11:45-57- Man’s Plans, God’s Sovereignty
Explanation- Let us first notice that whenever dealing with the truth of Jesus Christ there will always be divisions. In this account it is the division between those who had believed and those who went on their way to tell the Pharisees of all that Christ was doing. The latter is the case with men who conform to the world’s religion. They seek not the power of God, but rather the favor and acceptance of man. Surely men such as these have their reward!
Upon hearing about Christ’s continual miracles and works, the Pharisees set to work on how they will do with this man who has caused such an uproar in Israel. What is astonishing about this account is that the Pharisees heard that Jesus had literally just raised the dead and yet their hearts were cold as ice. They were unconcerned with anything that Christ could do or the many works performed. All that struck these men’s interests was retaining their current stature and keeping the Romans at bay. This proves what Christ has said all along, namely that these men did not know the Father. To be quite frank, these men wanted nothing to do with the Father. They were content with their man-made religion which kept men in bondage rather than provided any form of freedom.
The most important aspect of this account is the words of Caiaphas, the high priest of this time. Unbeknownst to himself and those around, he utters one of the greatest theological realities known to man. Although he did not intend it to be meant in the way that we have come to understand it, this displays the great sovereignty of our God and King over the hearts and even mouths of men. Caiaphas says that, ‘it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish’. Had he realized the true implications of this statement it would have knocked him backwards! In a very real sense, is this not exactly what Christ came to accomplish? Did He not come to give His life as a ransom for many? This is similar to the account in Acts chapter three when the apostles that Christ’s crucifixion was done in ignorance by the people and rulers of Israel but was meant to fulfill that which God spoke through the prophets concerning the Christ. This concept has been seen throughout the whole span of redemptive history. Recall Joseph’s famous words to his brothers, ‘what you intended for evil, God meant for good’. God’s will is weaved seamlessly throughout the course of history and even when men are most apt to believe that they are acting autonomously God is working behind the scenes to bring all things together for His glory and the good of His people.
The final point I would like to comment on is the closing statements of chapter 11. It is here that the orders are given that Jesus is to be turned in to face judgement. This is the trumpet sound which would eventually lead to the final betrayal of our Lord by Judas Iscariot.
Application- As we consider the words of Caiaphas and the sovereign purpose of God behind history’s darkest moment (namely the death of our Lord), let us remember that this is God’s story. It is HIStory after all. All the events that have ever taken place over all the span of time have been written in eternity past. God is the author of all and as such is intimately involved with His creation. Not only this, but God has written Himself into the story in the person of Jesus Christ. It was not enough that He just sat above and guided history, but He decided to include Himself in it in an unfathomable way. As we continue this journey of life let us remember that we serve a God who is always with us. His presence fills His creation and He Himself once dwelt in flesh like our own and walked this land. What comfort can be found in this truth! What hope! Let us dwell in the presence of God as the One who is near. All of our trials, troubles, and times of distress are experienced in His sight. Even when the plans of man seem to succeed and all seems dim, we must remember that no one thing happens without our Father’s design and purpose. This is the great hope of the believer!