The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
The high priest, Caiaphas, when he was told about Jesus’ ability to work miracles, had to consider his position carefully. He was, after all, responsible for seeing that the Jews held to their religion correctly. He was supposed to be sure that people were not led astray. Miracle workers and prophets who did not bring glory to the true God of Israel would be a stumbling block to the people. What should he do?
This passage, from John 11:47-53, tells us of a perfectly sensible decision. He can’t let the situation continue. This Jesus would lead people astray or he would cause some sort of rebellion and revolt which would bring the Roman authorities to crush the Jewish state. Caiaphas decides the obvious solution is that Jesus should be arrested and, most likely, killed. It is better that he die in place of the whole nation.
In fact, Caiaphas is right. John comments that he said this not because he was reasoning well but because he was the high priest that year. God used him as the high priest to speak the truth. He then proceeded to pursue Jesus’ death.
Christian leaders have an important role. We, and I do say “we” since I serve as a pastor and a seminary professor, are supposed to guard the doctrinal purity and spiritual life of the Church. We are given the task of careful consideration of how the Church teaches, how it worships, how it prays, and how it serves in the community. All of this reflects something about God in Christ. May God give us wisdom, using us for the truth, even if it is unwitting.
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