As you quiet yourself for this brief time, be willing to be open to God in whatever way that may take place.
John 11:45-57 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what he had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council, and said, “What are we to do? This man is performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all! You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.” He did not say this on his own, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was about to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the dispersed children of God. So from that day on they planned to put him to death.
Jesus therefore no longer walked about openly among the Jews, but went from there to a town called Ephraim in the region near the wilderness; and he remained there with the disciples.
Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. They were looking for Jesus and were asking one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? Surely he will not come to the festival, will he?” Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who knew where Jesus was should let them know, so that they might arrest him.
If more and more people believe in Jesus, then the Roman Empire, which really rules the Jewish nation, will come crashing down on the little bit of freedom that Israel has, and destroy the temple and the nation. Why? Because there is a growing sense that Jesus could be the long-awaited King of Israel. And if the number of people swell, there will be a frenzy that claims sovereignty for the state of Israel over against Rome, and Rome will crush it. That’s what the Pharisees and chief priests say to the Council. So Jesus is now not just a minor blasphemer who needs to be stoned; he is a threat to the existence of the very nation of Israel itself—that’s how they see it. The one who came to save is feared as a destroyer.
God did not just turn this national crisis for Israel’s good and our good, he was in it from the start planning it for good. Therefore, the death of Jesus was not mainly a tragic set of events that God turned for our good. It was a loving set of events which God planned for our good. God himself served the death warrant on his own Son. He did not just predict it. He unleashed it. This word of prophecy tracked Jesus down into Gethsemane and put him under arrest. There was no escape. This was the word of God.
Lord, help us to be strong in the face of hard times and seeming defeat. Help us to remember that God, you are not simply watching and waiting to turn it all for good. God is in it from the beginning planning it for your good. Amen.
Go with God!