John 11:46-53 (NLT)
Raising Lazarus from the dead was the prelude to Holy Week. It threw the religious leaders into a dilemma as they worried over how the news would spread throughout Jerusalem, just a few miles away. Some scholars write that somewhere between 200,000 and 1 million people were in Jerusalem for Passover that year. The religious leaders fretted over how the word about Jesus, with His healing and resurrection powers, might spread throughout the population. Would riots break out in the streets? Would Rome blame them for the chaos? The high priest, Caiaphas, spoke up with authority: “You don’t understand a thing! Don’t you realize we’d be much better off if this one man were to die for the people than for the whole nation to perish?” (vs. 50 TPT). And from that day on they were committed to killing Jesus (vs. 53).
From a human standpoint, things would end in disaster; but from God’s viewpoint, everything would lead to the crowning event: one man would die for the people (as Caiaphas unknowingly prophesied). Jesus’ death would make it possible for us to experience eternal life: To all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12).
When Adam sinned, the entire world was affected. Sin entered human experience, and death was the result. And so death followed this sin, casting its shadow over all humanity (Rom. 5:12). (But) through one righteous act of Jesus’ sacrifice, the perfect righteousness that makes us right with God and leads us to a victorious life, is now available to all (Rom. 5:18b).
Jesus slipped away into Ephraim for some quiet time with His disciples—the calm before the storm. He knew what was coming and remained firmly resolved to fulfill His mission. He would pay the price for our salvation with His death on the cross. You meant that much to Him.
As we focus on Holy Week, ponder on the spiritual transformation that you have experienced as a result of following Jesus. Honor Him with wholehearted faith. Prioritize His life within you. And share your story with someone this week.