Sermons

Summary: God works behind the scenes. Caiaphas the high priest’s plan to eliminate Christ became part of God’s design to redeem the world. God continues to work through us too as the body of Christ to bring about his ultimate purpose.

Let Christ Bring A Resolution Jn. 11:47-53

There’s always a resolution for your problems. Things can and do come together after all. Ezekiel in the Old Testament (Ezekiel 37) offers an image of life being breathed into dead bones with the result that there is a noise and a rattling sound, and the bones came together bone to bone with tendons and flesh over them and skin. Holy Spirit life is breathed into them, just as Paul reminds us in the epistle (Romans 8:11-19), with Life given to you and me in the risen Christ. In the Gospel,(John 11) we learn the terrible plot concocted by the religious authorities to get rid of Jesus, ended up being the very plan by which God would bring together his scattered children and make them one.

Yes, things really do come together in Christ.

But not always. Such was the case when the chief priests, and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin, the ruling council of 70 to discuss their problem. So many people were flocking to Jesus; he was gaining so much in popularity and power, with miracle after miracle, and his powerful God-breathed teachings, that they were concerned that the ruling Roman government would intervene and take away their power and position, and whatever authority their Jewish nation had. A meeting was held; blame was assigned. Jesus would be come the culprit and the victim, much like a sheep led to the slaughter. Caiaphas, the High Priest, whose very coffin, engraved with his name was discovered a decade ago in Jerusalem when it was accidentally dug up by a bulldozer, spoke up, determined that there would be another grave, and this one, for Jesus: “Don’t you realize it is better for you that one man die for he people than that the whole nation perish?” Caiaphas said.

It reminds me somewhat of the trap law enforcement people run into to quickly assign blame and a culprit, in high visibility murder cases, even when there is little evidence to go on. An innocent person is put in jail. Now and then, you and I face this pressure to assign blame, in the many unresolved issues we struggle with. How quickly, when unable to decipher and solve, or just live with, a problem we’re facing, we fail to trust the Lord for insight, acceptance and resolution. Instead, we grow impatient, and, as the pressure and anxiety builds, we just find someone to blame. We don’t pause for a minute to first shoulder the responsibility ourselves and explore our own sinful shortcomings, one by one, but use a different type of multiplication, we refuse to address the two by four in our own eye, and instead focus on removing the fractional speck from someone else’s. Someone becomes the scapegoat, the focus of anxiety in a conflicted family or organization. Those of us who have been victims of this unconscious strategy in the minds of anxious persons and family systems, have come a long way when we don’t respond in kind, stubbornly and angrily rising to defend ourselves. For, often it may not be about us at all.

There was something that had to be resolved in Jesus time, so they called a meeting.

We so frequently face situations in life that need resolution. There is the meeting of the doctor with the family outside the hospital room or emergency room. There is the meeting of parents and teachers about the child; the student. The same voices of desperation as found in our text can be heard. “If we don’t do something; if we let this go on, then just look what could happen.”

This was the response the religious authorities had to the raising of Lazarus from the dead, the story that immediately precedes this one. The antagonism that followed may well explain the seeming reluctance of Christ to show up in Bethany and why he stayed away two more days. Martha said to him: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But Jesus did get there. He showed his ultimate power in raising from the dead this Christian Brother, Lazarus. And this would be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Something had to be done, these religious authorities had decided. Once again, with money answering everything, with thirty pieces of silver, Jesus Christ would be betrayed at the hand of one of his own followers, taken in, beaten, tried and executed in the method Romans commonly used for criminals: crucifixion. This was how things would be resolved. In the weeks to come, leading up to our Easter celebration, we will see just how momentum built toward this end.

But God used this plan of sinful men to bring about the fulfillment of his greatest plan, to rescue sinful human beings from damnation, and save them for eternal life in heaven. Through the cross, an instrument of torture and execution, Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, became sin for us, and received the punishment we deserved for our sins. Upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, the prophet Isaiah tells us. God brought things together finally. The judgment for sin that lay upon each of us was resolved in the death of this good man who gave his own life as a sacrifice, Jesus Christ. It is impossible for us to comprehend this act of giving and we are left speechless. As Paul writes, ‘thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.’

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