As we seek out to understand more the character of God, do we follow Him faithfully or do we try to get His will to fit into our own understanding? Is God’s will understood by the leading of the Spirit or twisted by the evil hearts of men?
45 Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him.46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done. 47 Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. 48 If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all,50 nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.” 51 Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they planned together to kill Him.
One thing that John continues to record in his book is the reactions of others to the things Jesus did and said. We see that the raising of Lazarus from the dead resulted in many believing in Him, however some still preferred to worry about their own stake in religious security. The Pharisees were setting a precedent that we see continuing today: fear of belief in Jesus overtaking their community of believers. I mentioned in Stoning Jesus that we get so caught up in our religion that we focus on it rather than the God it was designed to serve. I suppose this conflict between Christ and the Jews is most rattling because they are talking about the same God. Jesus mentions many times throughout the book of John that the Jews are so steadfast and set in their rules of piety that they cannot see they are missing the point.
The words of Caiaphas are interesting in that he mentions how killing Jesus will save the nation. Little did he know that was the plan all along! This is but one snippet of scripture exemplifying that God’s plan is sovereign and despite the evil hearts of men, His plan will always prevail. We see here that Caiaphas prophesied of Jesus’ death. Where do prophecies come from? God. God reveals prophecies to men for the purpose of revelation to the people. The prophecy was that Jesus would die. In fact, many prophecies like this one are found throughout the scriptures. This one by Caiaphas is the most recent. We should note that the prophecy did not explain necessarily how or why Jesus would die. The evil hearts of men took this information and were trying to use it to their advantage.
Too often we try to “figure God out.” In studying the bible we learn who God is and how He is. However, when things are revealed to us, it is very easy for us to shape that information in a way that benefits us. The twisting and misquoting of scripture is the biggest issue I see, but we also tend to take little things throughout our day, things that God reveals to us that He wants us to do or know, that we can overanalyze and try to understand too much. If we truly study God’s Word for the understanding of the character of God, we will see that the finite things He reveals to us is to help us build our faith. What that comes to mind is when Jesus sends His disciples to go find a colt tied up in the town. The finite details in this were proof that Jesus is God. However, in our daily lives, we won’t get very much detailed information for guidance. He may reveal details to us for the future in order to increase our faith, but in guiding us throughout our lives, He may just give us general directions that He expects us to follow faithfully. “go here, do this, talk to them, etc.”
Let’s not try to get God to fit into our own agenda. Instead, let us open our eyes, our minds, and our hearts to the leading of the Spirit, God’s counselor, and instead of standing still trying to figure everything out, how about we just go.