Jesus was arrested. Bound and taken away from the garden. All of His disciples fled the scene and He was taken away alone to be dragged before the chief priests and the Roman rulers who eventually sentence Him and put Him to death.
All of this was in accordance with the plan of God and His will for this had to happen so that salvation would be made available to all mankind. It is interesting though how this event unfolded, especially when we look at the precursors that led to the arrest of Jesus.
The Prophecy of Caiaphas
In verse 13 of this section we see that Jesus was first led to Annas who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas. Caiaphas was the high priest and He stood before the altar of the Lord in the temple of God in Jerusalem. In verse 14 we then see that Caiaphas prophesied at some time prior to this, which was not uncommon for the high priests of the temple. And back in John 11:47-53 we see the detail of this prophecy and the events surrounding it.
47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council, and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs.
48 If we let him go on thus, every one will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.”
49 But one of them, Ca’iaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all;
50 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.”
51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation,
52 and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
53 So from that day on they took counsel how to put him to death.
The prophecy that Caiaphas gave showed that it was necessary for one man to die so that the whole nation of Israel should live.
Now at that time Israel was under the authority and control of the Roman empire. They were effectively an occupied territory with the legions of Rome and governors sent by Rome to rule according to the whims of Caesar.
But Israel was not a pushover place. They did not buckle under to the forces of Rome and were a troublesome people to rule. This was because they did not recognise the foreign and pagan gods that Rome accepted and kept to their worship of the one true God, the God of their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Thus the place was on a knife edge and the Jewish rulers were frequently concerned about the power of Rome who might destroy the temple and their ways of worship.
This is where the prophecy of Caiaphas comes in.
The work that Jesus was doing was being opposed by the Jewish leaders and they recognised that if allowed to continue, their place and process of worship would no longer be required. Many, many of the Jews followed Jesus and were being converted to the way of the truth in Jesus Christ. If the Romans caught wind of this, as they certainly were aware of Jesus, then they could legitimately throw down the temple and take away the holy things. For the chief priests, this would mean they lose their power base over the people.
So they interpreted the prophecy of Caiaphas to mean that Jesus had to die, who was causing the disruption to their traditions, so that there was no opposition to their authority and they could continue the temple worship…oh and their power base too.
Little did they know that although their motives were completely wrong, they were doing what had been ordained by God many, many years before.
The Way to Salvation
Jesus came to die. He came to be the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all mankind so that we may live.
The method of His death and all of the events leading up to it were also pre-ordained by God. It had to happen in the way it did so that all of the prophecies pointing to Jesus and the salvation He was to bring forth in the New Covenant would be put in place.
Thus, although the prophecy of Caiaphas led the Jews to take action for other reasons, they were in fact fulfilling the will of God in accordance with the prophecy.
How wonderful are God’s ways and how awesome is His wisdom! For by this process and the erroneous approach of the Jewish leaders, God’s will was done and their worst fears were realised. Within forty years the Romans sacked Jerusalem, destroyed the Temple, took all of the sacred items of worship from the Temple to Rome and did everything in their power to wipe Judaism off the map.
But in the meantime the apostles and disciples preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the known world and it has not only survived but flourished to the point where almost one-third of mankind today calls itself Christian.
This is and always was the plan of God…that ALL of Israel will be saved. And you and I who may not be directly descended from Abraham, are included as Abraham’s children through our faith. For it says in Romans 4:16-17,
16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants–not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham, for he is the father of us all,
17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations…”
As a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ, let us look to the things above where Christ is and so receive the salvation of the Lord that He established for us in His death.
(Photo sourced from Christians Unite.com)
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