Jesus had just finished raising Lazarus from the dead in our reading. Today we see the aftermath of that on the religious leaders.
During the last few weeks Jesus has performed two distinct miracles that have NEVER been done before. He opened the eyes of a mind blind since birth and He raised a man from the dead after four days. There is NO denying He is something special and that He comes directly from God. His works speak that fact loud and clear! John tells us that many of the Jews who were there comforting Mary in her grief believed in Jesus once they witnessed Lazarus’ resurrection. I LOVE that Jesus made sure to link Himself and the Father in public prayer right before calling Lazarus out. I bet that NO ONE present would ever forget that prayer.
A few days ago I was wondering at Jesus’ delaying to go to Lazarus, just like some of those in attendance were doing. I realize tonight that Jesus had to get the religious leaders into a fever pitch to push them into completing God’s exact plan. When they learned of His latest (and greatest so far) miracle they were over the top! He HAD to go! Arresting or discrediting Him was no longer good enough. He had to die. God even let Caiaphas prophecy it for them. “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one Man should die for the people, not that he whole nation should perish” (verse 49-50). God’s plan could NOT be stopped and now they were all on board with it. They just didn’t realize which team they were really playing for, and neither did Satan.
Having pushed the religious leaders to the brink, Jesus had to remain unavailable for a little bit. Not only did He need the religious leaders to perform their part of God’s plan but He needed it to be on schedule. There was a perfect timing and circumstances that had to be followed for God’s plan to be completely fulfilled. And you know God was going to make sure that happened too.
I wonder how Jesus stayed hidden in Ephraim. Did He do any miracles while He was there? Were these people accustomed to Jesus being there so they didn’t throng Him like other regions did? Did they even know He was there? He could have remained hidden from them as easily as He did from those looking to stone Him that day in the temple. I can’t imagine how peaceful it would have been for Him and His disciples if He had. Talk about special alone time!
Enter Passover season. The town is a buzz with people speculating about Jesus coming. This is the most important feast in Israel’s religious calendar. Everyone was supposed to come for it. Surely Jesus would come, wouldn’t He? The chief priests and Pharisees sure thought (and hoped) so. They had plans for Jesus. I wonder if they informed those “keeping an eye out” for Him what their plan was. It was probably common knowledge that they wanted to arrest Him, but I doubt any outside their number knew their real intention. We know Judas didn’t at the time.
This is also the time Jesus has been waiting for. Jesus didn’t need to come early to purify Himself. He also didn’t want to come early to allow the religious leaders to get ahead of God’s plan. There were also a few more prophecies that needed to be completed before the final events.
Father God, it is amazing to watch how You bring everything in line with Your will. You don’t bend Your plans to match ours but bring us to a place of lining up with Yours and thinking all along it was our idea. You have done this in my life on more than one occasion. Some would call it coincidence but I know better. It is You taking a personal interest in this one little child of Yours. Thank You for taking the time to help me Daddy. The wound that left an ugly scar, You used to make the point of a star. Looking back is SO amazing! In Your time.