Christ is risen!
Someone once said “Cowardice asks: Is it safe? Expediency asks: Is it politic? Vanity asks: Is it popular? But Conscience asks: Is it right?” We move through our everyday life, facing choices; some big and some small. Mostly they are small choices, but those small choices add up to a way of life that, when the big choices in my life confront me, I act as I have in all those small choices before!
Look at our lesson today in John 11:47-54:
At that time, 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 thus, every one will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy 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; 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. So from that day on they took counsel how to put him to death.
Jesus therefore no longer went about openly among the Jews, but went from there to the country near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim; and there he stayed with the disciples.
It seems that the life of Jesus had the religious leaders of their day asking “What are we to do?” on a regular basis. The Lord’s ministry was popular with the people. And why wouldn’t it be? He was actually providing them with more than mere religious words but actual comfort and healing. The leaders saw this and watched as their influence on the people diminished with the Lord’s growing popularity.
But don’t forget, the religious leaders in Jerusalem were also the political leaders combined. This was the way of things in the Lord’s day. It was the normal way every society governed itself.
So, these leaders had a real problem. What do they do about this rabbi from Galilee? If they arrest Him, the people will revolt and the Romans will remove the leaders. If they do nothing and allow this Preacher and Miracle worker to grow in popularity, the Romans will get nervous and remove the leaders! Looks like a “no win” situation for these boys!
Then the high priest, acting in his ordained ministry as high priest, tells them about the “expediency” of one Man dying for the nation. What’s really amazing is that this man, who thought he was solving the problem before them, was actually participating in God’s plan for the whole world! By the way, that means never discount the ordained ministers. Even in their short sightedness and humanness at time they serve the Will of God.
This was the moment in the Lord’s ministry where the plans to kill Him and get Him out of the way began. Notice, the Lord isn’t foolish. He and His disciples then go to a secluded place to let the “heat” die down a bit. Smart!
Many times in our lives, we take the path of expediency in hopes of compromising or “getting along” or even just to make things easier. But how often is this path of expediency taken out of fear or pride or even cowardice? The Faith that should be the Foundation of our lives invites us to escape the shortsighted and “easy” choices that provide temporary relief in the moment and gives us the stronger path of hard choices that secure a more honest and holy life.
Today, are you able to see far enough ahead in your own life that short sighted fear no longer enslaves your choices? With a Purposeful Orthodoxy as your foundation, you can develop a lifestyle that informs all those small choices through the day and then, when the big moments come, you are able to make the right choice! This is who you were meant to be!
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