Spoken Prayer: Out loud, pray for God to speak to you through your reading. Praise God for giving us His word. Ask the Spirit to help you read with faith, and to live out what you hear from God through the passage.
The Work of God or My Personal Position?
by Dave Mann
This passage presents a very sad situation. The religious leaders of the day found themselves in an awkward situation. They had to choose between the clear work of God or the preservation of their power and position. And they made a poor choice for the latter.
Jesus has just raised Lazarus from the dead. God had given power to demonstrate that Jesus had authority over even death. Obviously, this raised quite a stir among all those who heard about this. Some responded by placing their trust in Jesus and following him. But ironically, the religious leaders responded in anger. They even admitted that Jesus was doing many signs. They admitted that it was real. The people were not making up stories about these miracles. But their concern was not how to embrace the coming of the kingdom of God in their midst. They were concerned how the work of God would diminish their position and power.
“Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”
And then to add even more irony, Caiaphas, who was serving as high priest that year, spoke truth, albeit unintentionally. He stated that it would be better for one man to die for all the people than that the entire nation should perish. Of course, he was thinking of doing away with Jesus so that he would no longer attract the attention of all the people and reveal the leaders’ hypocrisy. But the truth of the statement made by Caiaphas was that Jesus would be the ultimate sacrifice for sin and that not only the entire Jewish nation could be save, but the entire world could be saved by the sacrifice that God was providing for everyone. The threat to be averted was not the Roman military but our own sin and selfishness.
I’m sure glad that we don’t have to make decisions like the religious leaders had to make back then – to choose between the work of God or the preservation of my own image and position! Oops, yes, such decisions are still common today.
Lord God, by your Holy Spirit, save me from preserving my personal image and power at the expense of your work in my life and in the lives of others.