March 13, 2017

So Close...

Devotion for the Week...

I am constantly amazed at how often something new will occur to me as I read my Bible, even though I have read it all before. One recent example is when I read John 18:14, which says, "Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people." I know I've read that before, many times even, but nothing ever stood out to me about it. This time was different.

Caiaphas was the high priest in Jerusalem when Jesus was brought for his 'trial'. This was no proper trial, of course, as it was happening in the middle of the night and with witnesses who were known to be lying. Even more disturbing is the fact that the Sanhedrin had obviously already decided what needed to be done and were simply making a show of following procedure.

When it says "Caiaphas was the one who had advised..." it is referencing John 11:50-53, where Caiaphas is recorded as saying, "You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life."

What I find interesting is that Caiaphas prophesied, meaning that what he said was a message directly from God, but he totally misunderstood the message he was given. While Caiaphas understood that Jesus had to die, he misunderstood why. In fact, Caiaphas took the message to mean exactly what he wanted it to mean...that Jesus would die and that would preserve the way of life that had Caiaphas in a position of authority and power.

He was so close to getting God's plan, but yet so far away.

The biggest realization I had was that Caiaphas didn't ignore God's reason for Jesus' death  - he didn't ever see it! He was so fixated on the here-and-now, on his own agenda and what would benefit him most, that he never even thought about what the words he prophesied could mean in another context.

Are we doing the same? Are we so focused on the here-and-now that we forget to look for the eternal implications of what is going on around us? Are we looking so intently at what could benefit us most today that we don't notice the things God is doing that will benefit us and others for eternity?
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To be honest, I don't know what would have been different if Caiaphas had seen the eternal. Jesus still would have died, after all, since that was God's plan, but something certainly would have been different in Caiaphas' heart. How would that difference have affected the rest of his life? Unfortunately, we'll never know.

The same is true for us. I believe that God's plans always happen, but it's possible for us to live our lives completely unaware of His work in our world. What do we miss out on by being oblivious? What could we gain by being aware?

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