John 11:45-57 NKJV
45 Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him. 46 But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. 48 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.”
49 And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50 nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.
53 Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death. 54 Therefore Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there into the country near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim, and there remained with His disciples.
55 And the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went from the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves. 56 Then they sought Jesus, and spoke among themselves as they stood in the temple, “What do you think—that He will not come to the feast?” 57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a command, that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it, that they might seize Him.
There were Jews who were brought to believe in Jesus and there were Jews who outright hated Him (plotting to kill Him). There were, most likely, those ‘in-between’ as well — and the same is true today. In this day and age of ‘political correctness’ — when ‘fence riding’ attitudes are fostered and language is heavily spun as being offensive (when it isn’t) — some would take offense when it is said that those who are indifferent toward Jesus, in actuality, hate Him. There’s just no fence riding when it comes to Christ! If there’s not faith — namely, a dying of the Old Man (the abandonment any trust in the flesh), and a rising of the New Man (the full reliance on Christ and His fully atoning merits) — than sinful flesh is winning out.
One of the greatest mysteries to human reason is how God uses the enemies of faith to strengthen those of the faith. Most state this by asking: “Why does a gracious God allow bad things to happen?” All things, however, are for His good purpose. This very text reveals God’s plan of using the evil of the Jews for the greatest good man has ever known! The death of Jesus merited the full atonement for the sins of the world — and it forgiveness and everlasting life to all who believe!
The Jews had no idea they were being used by God to solidify His theology of the cross. This is the message that is foolishness to those who are perishing — but to us the message of God in His glory while pouring out His blood for the sake of our justification is the power of God! Rejoice that you are not a fence rider, but a sinner constantly brought to repentance and belief through God’s ever effective means of grace!
Let us pray: Almighty, everlasting God, make us always to have a devout will toward You and to serve Your majesty with a pure heart; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.