Christ is risen!
There is a principle that God, in His love, reveals to those who love Him that even the Lord’s sworn enemies end up doing things and making decisions that ultimately serve the Lord’s intended purpose for His world.
It must be terribly frustrating to the enemy of God to watch as his best work against God ends up furthering God’s purpose and plan!
But you’ve experienced this truth in your own life! How many times have troubles and heartache caused you to pray more, be more aware of your need for God’s love and help, and even caused you to increase your focus on your spiritual development? In each of those times, the troubles of life end up making you a better person!
Now, to be sure, the opposite has been seen as well. All of us have seen troubles and bad circumstances actually turn people into bitter, angry, and even hateful towards God. Their difficulties actually had the exact opposite effect. They became MORE distant from God and HIs love.
So, what determines if one will react to troubles with growing faith or diminishing love?
OK, here’s where it gets a bit difficult. You see, the determining factor of whether troubles will do work in your soul for your eternal benefit or these same troubles will make a person more distant from God lies exactly in that person’s choice! And it reveals that person’s true nature.
In today’s Gospel Lesson, we see this revelation played out in the Life of our Lord Jesus. In John 11:47-54 the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day are trying to figure out just what they are going to do about this Jesus. If they do nothing then all the people will continue to believe in Him and the Romans will get nervous about the growing popularity of this Jewish rabbi and crack down hard on the Jews and take their Temple and the nation away! But if they do something to Jesus, they fear the people’s reaction.
Look at John 11:49-52: But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all; you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.” He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
Talk about “You don’t know what you are saying!” The chief priest, not even realizing that his very words were inspired by God, tells the leaders that one has to die for all, so that all may be saved! Amazing. I doubt that Caiaphas intended to actually be cooperating with God’s plan for the salvation of the world. He just wanted to get this “troublesome” rabbi out of the way so that the “status quo” could be maintained. And yet, this impending tragedy of the Lord’s death would lead to His resurrection and the salvation of the world!
Today, what circumstances are you facing in your life? The reality is that each of us experience tough times and good times. The truth is that even in our most difficult circumstances, we are still free to choose how these sad times will shape us. Will we pass through these difficulties confident that God knows us and loves us and therefore can even use this hard time to shape me into His more mature disciple? Or will we allow fear and doubt to overwhelm our faith and our confidence to deepen doubt and fear in our lives and thus drive us further from our only Source of true life? We have been given the gift of freedom and choice.
Today, know that even His enemies praise Him and nothing going on in your life right now has to destroy you. In fact, the power of the Resurrection of Christ proves that even the deepest tragedy can, if we choose, become the greatest source of faith and hope. It all depends on your love for God and your confidence in His love for you!