Truth is stranger than fiction, and it is regularly less popular.
So Jesus had raised Lazarus from the grave, and you would think that by doing that He would blow away all doubts and convince every sceptic; that He would triumphantly carry all before Him and win the day. All opponents would step up out of their trenches waving white flags. It would be ‘game over’ for unbelief.
But that is not the situation you find here.
Rather, the division over Jesus continues (45, 46). It remains the same today. Compelling evidence (as we might regard it) of Christ’s reality and divinity will only serve to make some people dig their heels in all the more. In fact there will be those who actually choose to align themselves with forces violently opposed to Jesus rather than bow the knee to Him. It’s like they see this huge aircraft coming towards them which has the firepower to blow all of their unbelief out of the water. Yet they keep blasting away at the aeroplane with their canons, even though they cannot hope to bring it down.
The fact is that certain people are just not interested in truth claims (47, 48). Whether or not Christianity is true is not of paramount importance. Their big question is, ‘How does this affect me?’ And if they perceive that their vital interests will be adversely impacted, they just don’t want to know. So, it’s not mainly a question of, ‘Is this message true?’ Rather, it’s a case of, ‘Will my life have to change?’ If the answer is ‘Yes’, in some way or other they will line up with those who plot to remove Jesus.
Jealousy and fear ruled the hearts of these spiritual leaders – not a desire to know the truth. The unintended prophecy from Caiaphas is also quite remarkable:
‘ ”Can’t you see that it’s to our advantage that one man dies for the people rather than the whole nation be destroyed?” He didn’t say this of his own accord, but as Chief Priest that year he unwittingly prophesied that Jesus was about to die sacrificially for the nation, and not only for the nation but so that all God’s exile-scattered children might be gathered together into one people (50-52).’ The Message.
In saying that it was expedient that one man should die instead of the whole nation, this hardened, powerful religious leader was unconsciously prophesying the substitutionary death of Jesus – a death that would lead to worldwide salvation (see 10:16).
So we see yet again that, in spite of the severe hostility surrounding Jesus, God is in control. Our God reigns!
Prayer: ”Saved by grace alone; this is all my plea. Jesus died for all mankind, and Jesus died for me.”