It was expedient that One should die


“Then the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council and said, ‘What do we do? For this man performs many miracles. If we leave him alone like this, all men will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.’ And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.’ And he did not speak this of himself, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation, and not for that nation only, but that also he should assemble in one the children of God who were scattered abroad. Then from that day forth, they took counsel together to put him to death.” John 11:47-53

How little things have changed! After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and the Pharisees were told of the mighty miracle, they were more concerned about preserving their earthly status and position under Roman rule than their eternal future. Instead of coming to Jesus and recognizing Him as the Son of God and their Savior from sin, they considered it expedient for the earthly wellbeing of their place and nation to reject and put to death their Messiah.

And it happens today! Pastors and church leaders compromise the clear and plain teaching of the Bible, which is God’s Word, to preserve their positions in the church. Sad to say, for many, it is viewed as expedient that the true Jesus of the Bible be silenced and those who teach His Word be removed from their pulpits so that their own positions and erring church doctrines remain unchallenged.

After all, what would happen if the sin and false doctrine in their church bodies were to be exposed? What would happen if those who teach the truth revealed in the Bible were allowed to keep pointing out the sins of church members and calling upon all to repent of their evil ways and look in faith in Christ Jesus and His cross for mercy, pardon, and forgiveness, and then seek to walk according to God’s Word? Members might become upset and leave. Church traditions and teachings might be exposed as doctrines of men. Churches might become divided and split. Church leaders might lose their positions of authority and leadership.

Notice that even though the Pharisees and religious rulers of the Jews rejected Jesus and plotted to kill Him, the words of Caiaphas, the high priest, were a prophecy of God’s plan for Jesus to be offered up on the cross as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people that God might gather together His chosen from among the nation of Israel and from among the peoples of the world. And God is doing that yet today when He calls people to faith in Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross through the hearing of His Word. Those who, by the grace and mercy of God, hear the voice of Jesus calling through the preaching and teaching of God’s Word and look to Him in faith are gathered together to Him and are a part of His eternal kingdom. They are pardoned, forgiven, and have eternal life!

In 1 Corinthians 11:19, St. Paul writes: “For there must also be sects among you so that those who are approved may be made manifest among you.” In other words, God allows those with differing religious views and opinions to rise up in the church in order to test believers and see if they will hold fast to the truth of the Bible or elevate their own reason and opinions and reject the truth of His Word. Sadly, the Christian church is very splintered and divided today, which puts the burden on believers to examine what pastors and churches teach, using the Bible as the source and judge of truth.

Isaiah wrote: “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20). The sects and divisions in the church today force Christians who seek to be faithful to Christ to dig deeply into the Holy Scriptures so that they might know and believe the truth rather than being misled by those who err. In this way, through the errors of false teachers and churches, God strengthens and purifies His elect through the study of His Word.

O gracious Father, grant that we hold to the truth of Your Word and place our faith in Jesus and His cross for our salvation, and keep us from being misled by those who would turn us away from the truth and from the way of salvation You have provided for us through the death of Your Son for the sins of the people. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the Revised Common Version of the Bible.]

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