Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
In Israel’s past, high priests held the position for a lifetime. The Romans, however, feared longevity would give a man too much power so they appointed high priests at their convenience. Caiaphas, a puppet of Rome, was appointed by the Empire in AD 18 and ruled for eighteen years.
Jerusalem was buzzing with the news about Jesus. He stood before a tomb and raised a dead man to life. Everyone wanted to see this miracle worker. They wondered if He might be the Anointed One from God—the Messiah. The religious leaders had tried to stop Jesus, but His influence over the people was growing. Caiaphas feared that if too many people followed Jesus, Rome would destroy the Jewish nation. So he said that it was better for one man to die than for the whole nation to be destroyed.
John recognized the irony in the high priest’s statement. Caiaphas simply wanted Jesus killed and out of the picture. But in his statement he pointed to the Lamb of God that would be a substitutionary sacrifice for all people. Without knowing it, Caiaphas’ words and actions were fulfilling the Old Testament prophesy of Jesus, the suffering servant.
Father, thank You for sending Your Son to be a sacrificial lamb that takes away my sin. Please help me respond to Jesus and His love with thanksgiving, praise, and obedience. In His name. Amen.
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