“You just don’t know what you’re talking about!” He was pretty upset over what I had to tell him. But sometimes, for a person’s own good, you have to say plain things plainly so that there will be no misunderstanding. And, in spite of my attempts to soften the blow of these plain truths, he still simply insisted I didn’t know enough facts to say what I said.
And you know what, he was right! I didn’t have all the information I needed to say what I said. Of course my pride kept me from admitting that right there. But a few days later I had my hat in hand and sincerely apologized.
But, hey that’s what happens when we speak instead of listen!
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 never ceases to amaze me at the brilliance of the Church in organizing our readings to really plug us in to the foundational purpose of our Faith. Today’s lesson is from a time in the Lord’s ministry where we are closing in on the crucifixion. Here we are in the Paschal season, celebrating the Resurrection, and looking forward to the Feast of the Ascension, and the Church has us read this passage today.
The genius is the scene prepares us to embrace the power of the Feast of the Ascension by teaching us that even those who hate Jesus inadvertently end up telling a profound truth about Him.
Caiaphas, the high priest that year, told the frustrated leaders of Israel that they “know nothing.” What brought on such a rebuke? Their helplessness in dealing with the growing popularity of Jesus and a growing fear this popularity would cause the Romans to crush them so that this new popular Leader wouldn’t start a rebellion.
The people were amazed by the Lord’s teachings and His miracles and society was stirred with the possibilities of being freed from the Romans. A dangerous mixture when the leaders had carefully cultivated a fragile peace with the occupying Army. And Jesus is threatening the status quo (He always does).
But Caiaphas, speaking a truth he himself didn’t really appreciate, tells them that one man’s death “for the people” is better than the whole nation being destroyed.
Look at that, the Jewish high priest, who wanted Jesus dead, tells the truth about the purpose of Jesus being there all along!
As we finish the Paschal season and see the bright light of the Feast of the Ascension, we must never forget that God knows the end from the beginning, and what looks like sure defeat is only a temporary moment in a loving plan for your life that is meant to have you, like our Lord, ascend to intimate communion with the God Who loves you more than you, yourself, know how to love.
Today, as we prepare to leave Pascha until next year, let’s not allow temporary troubles to rob us of eternal joy.
P.S. These are also the last few days of our Annual Pascha appeal. Please consider helping us cross the finish line of our goal for this year. Thank you. Click Here to Participate!