Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish.” (Jn 11:49-50)
Chapter 11 opens with the dramatic scene of the raising of Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, devoted disciples in whose home at Bethany Jesus and his companions often found rest. The narrative unfolds over the first 44 verses and leads to the convening of the Jewish council of elders, the Sanhedrin, to deal with the growing popularity of Jesus.
Jews believed that the high priest possessed the power of prophecy. Caiaphas’ statement that “it was better that one man should die . . . so that the whole nation may not perish” was political in nature. He understood the delicate balance of power at play in the capital city and that Rome would countenance no hint of rebellion or sedition.
For the evangelist John and his community, as for us, Caiaphas’ words assume a whole new meaning, a prophetic, spiritual one asserting that Jesus’ death is salvific, central to the redemptive plan of God to deliver every people and nation from sin and everlasting death. Jesus, the one righteous man, died for us all!
It is humbling to remember that God can make use of even the most primal human motivations and realities to bring about ultimate good. As you look on today’s world, can you identify places and events where God is at work?
Let us pray:
Lord our God, in the confusion and waywardness of our world, you do not cease to work your wonders. As you change simple gifts of bread and wine into the sacrament of Christ’s presence, use our feeble efforts and our faltering ways to bring about your redemption.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)