“Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.54 Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea. Instead he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples. 55 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover. 56 They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple courts they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the festival at all?” 57 But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him.” John 11.49-57
Things were not looking too good for Jesus. First off, Caiaphas, the high priest, was telling everyone that it was better for one person to die than to lose the whole nation. He also prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation. (How ironic that he did just that but for different reasons than the high priest might think.)
Because of the fear of the Jews, they began to plot to take the life of Jesus. Crazy, I know. And just after he showed his extreme power in raising Lazarus from the dead. Satan was scared and the spiritual battle taking place around Jesus must have been mighty.
As a result of this, Jesus’ movements around the country were limited. He stayed in a village named Ephraim in the wilderness region with his disciples. Even though people were looking for him, Jesus had to remain hidden for his own safety. This, of course, would not last long. But for now, Jesus was in hiding waiting for the opportune time to reveal himself and God’s final plan of redemption for the world.
It’s important to note in these instances that Jesus is not only God but also human. His interaction with humanity was often troublesome. Even Jesus had his enemies. He could not convince the Jews to follow him, turn from their sins and obey God. They plotted murder rather than heed his teachings.
Should we expect anything less? He spoke the truth about God’s laws and God’s love and they persecuted him. Why would they believe us? Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16.33
Are you facing trouble today? Perhaps it’s persecution from non-believers, a spiritual attack or rejection from friends or family members because of your faith. Take heart, Jesus has overcome the world. He endured pain, rejection, humiliation and temporary defeat. Yet in the end, he was restored and resurrected so we might live. He who was raised to life has overcome our failures and our troubles.
Hope in Christ. Trust in his world. Find solace in the one who saved you from your sins.
“O Lord God, you are good. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for your power and grace. When I fall, you lift me up. When I face trouble, you help me. Remind me to trust your word and follow your Spirit. Come now, Lord and King, be magnified in this place. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen