Caiaphas sat in the High Priest’s chair. He waited for the other men to sit. “What is the nature of this urgent calling together of the council? As if I need to ask.”
A Pharisee stood. “There’s been an incredible development with Jesus from Nazareth.”
Caiaphas stared at the Pharisee. “Did he tell someone to carry his mat on the Sabbath again?”
The Pharisee shook his head. “No, your highness, it’s much more astounding than that.”
Caiaphas drummed his fingers on the table. “Did someone get their sight back on the Sabbath again? I was ready to stone that guy who asked us if we wanted to believe in Jesus ourselves. How blasphemous.”
A priest leaned forward. “It’s bad enough when Jesus feeds a group of people and they want to crown him their king. What could be more ludicrous than that?”
The second Pharisee stood next to the first one. “Lazarus.”
A priest at the end of the table spoke up. “The brother of Martha and Mary? My wife went to Bethany to grieve with Mary over his death. That was a few days ago. What could Jesus do for him at that point?”
The Pharisee looked at each priest. “Jesus arrived four days after Lazarus died. We have eyewitnesses who saw Jesus bring Lazarus back to life.”
An audible gasp filled the room followed by murmurs.
The priest next to Caiaphas stood. “Are you sure Lazarus was dead?”
The Pharisee nodded. “The smell from the tomb was so bad one man vomited.”
The priest leaned forward. “Did Jesus touch the dead body? That would make him unclean.”
The Pharisee shook his head. “Our witnesses say Jesus prayed to God and called him his Father then simply told Lazarus to come out of the tomb.”
The priest sat down hard. “Jesus doesn’t even know who his real father is. How can he keep insisting God is his father?”
The Pharisee stepped toward the High Priest. “That’s not the point here. More people than ever are insisting Jesus is the Messiah. If this continues he’ll lead an uprising and the Romans will step in to remove this council and everything we stand for. We may not even have a nation when it’s all said and done.”
The crowd exploded into chaos until Caiaphas pounded his gavel hard.
He waited for silence. “Gentlemen, you have a short view of the situation here. God will not allow His people to be without a homeland. He promised us that many times. To that end God will make a way for us to put a stop to Jesus before any harm comes to our great nation. Don’t you realize that it’s far better for one man to die for the people than for God’s people to perish? We will take Jesus the next time he’s in Jerusalem.”
A third Pharisee stood. “But, we aren’t allowed to execute anyone. That’s Roman law. How are we to dispose of Jesus?”
Caiaphas sat back. “We’ll let the Romans crucify him for treason to stop any uprising he’s planning. That should put a halt to his followers as well.”
The first Pharisee stared at Caiaphas. “If he comes during the Passover he’ll have the crowds to protect him.”
Caiaphas smiled. “If it is God’s will for Jesus to die He’ll make a way for us to take him.”
A priest spoke up. “If we get rid of Lazarus that would be one less miracle for people to believe in.”
Caiaphas pounded his gavel. “This council is officially adjourned.”
Every good story has an evil antagonist who is pitted against the protagonist. It’s not often the bad guys are wearing white hats, but that’s the way His story played out.
The priests were in charge of the Temple and all of its protocols and procedures. The Pharisees were in charge of the laws the Jews were to follow. They even took it upon themselves to add to the laws originally given to Moses. Under Roman occupation they were the closest thing to a Hebrew governing body in existence.
So, why did they refuse to see Jesus for who He really was? In a word: pride, followed closely by power.
They didn’t want their positions of leadership and power taken away. The status quo was working very well thank you very much.
For the Messiah to come on their watch would mean they would lose their authority. Once power grips a person’s heart its icy tentacles are extremely difficult to release.
Such were the hearts of the religious leaders of Jesus’s day.
[Tweet “Jesus never demanded anybody follow His way”]
Pride wears many masks. Most of them are very innocent looking on the surface.
Parents can demand their kids go to church on the pretense of raising them properly only to have the young adults detest God after they receive their freedom.
A husband can insist his wife follows everything he says under the guise of submission according biblical standards without loving her like Christ loves the church.
A boss can lead with an iron fist to ensure his company makes it in a tough economy only to lose his best employees whose ideas never get heard let alone tried.
At the heart of pride is control. Each of us wants to be able to control the situation we find ourself in.
The logic follows the lines of us manipulating those around us to maintain our grip on our life.
It’s a false sense of security at best. I’ve seen marriages end when one spouse insists the other bends to their demand. Unconditional love is thrown away for the sake of pride and control.
Instead of changing an attitude an insistence on doing it “MY” way ensues. It’s a no-win situation.
Jesus never demanded anybody follow His way. He merely invited people to change from their sinful past and take on His easy yoke.
Unconditional love met compassion and adherence to the law in an incredible person.
Let’s follow Jesus’s example and love people to Him.
That means releasing your grip on your situation.
I’ll see you later. Wade