Part 4 – Is that why Jesus died?
Even the Jews, who had all the pointers to Jesus being the Messiah in their Scriptures, still didn’t get it that he would die, or the reason for it.
Even when Caiaphas the High Priest prophesied in John 11:51-52 that “Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for their nation but also for all the scattered children of God to bring them together and make them one” – it still didn’t ring any bells that what he’d just said was straight out of Isaiah as the sign pinpointing who the Messiah was, what he’d come for, and how his death would accomplish it. And Caiaphas was just about to have Jesus killed in fulfillment of that prophecy too, but it wouldn’t mean a thing to him. How on earth could that be?
Well, we know from verse 48, that Caiaphas wasn’t really thinking about what Jesus’ death would accomplish for the whole world; he was thinking about what it would do for him. Caiaphas was in a difficult spot. If the movement Jesus began got any bigger the Romans might move in to crush it and in the process kick out Caiaphas and his cronies too. Jesus’ death, therefore, didn’t mean anything more to Caiaphas than saving his own skin. He said as much in verse 48, when he openly stated his concern that if too many people followed Jesus the Romans would remove “what little power and privilege we (priests) still have.”
What Caiaphas saw in Jesus’ death, therefore, was the chance to save himself and his own political future. And that’s all he saw. But most of his fellow Jews were just as short sighted and self-centred as he was, because all they saw in Jesus was a great conquering hero who would save them from the Romans and make them a great nation again. In other words, they ALL saw Jesus in purely selfish terms, as to what he would do for them, personally.
But let’s lift this up to us today, because at some point in our lives WE were faced with Jesus dying on a cross as well. And what did that register in OUR heads? Was it along the lines of something like this – that we sinned and brought down the penalty of eternal death on ourselves, but God unleashed his wrath on Jesus on the cross instead, so that our sins could be forgiven, and if we led a reasonably good life after that our souls would be taken up to Heaven? But is that why Jesus died?…(continues tomorrow)