The Hateful Crowd

by Wayne Barber

Wayne Barber(Editor's note: Brother Wayne continues his dissection of the motley crowd which surged around Jesus following His resurrection of Lazarus from the dead.)

Oh, how the religious crowd hated Jesus and the following that He had everywhere He went. The miracle of chapter 11 in the raising of Lazarus pulled the trigger on their plot to kill Jesus. To them it was now or never, because of His popularity among the people.

In chapter 11, after Lazarus had been raised from the dead it says: "But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done" (v. 46). Immediately the plot to kill Jesus was formed! "Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation'" (vv. 47-48).

The Romans appointed the high priests and they did it randomly, so the position was never certain, as they would replace the high priest at will. Caiaphas was the high priest that year.

He basically accused his contemporaries of being ignoramuses: "But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, You know nothing at all'" (John 11:49). His suggestion to them was to kill Jesus once and for all, and be done with it!

Caiaphas felt that killing Jesus was simply a sacrifice that was necessary for the sake of the people-but really for the sake of the leaders like himself. "nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish" (v. 50).

At this point, John interprets what Caiaphas said, for the sake of his readers:"Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation" (v. 51). Caiaphas had unconsciously prophesied that Jesus would die for the sake of the whole nation! This is awesome!

The outcome of the death of Jesus would be the uniting of God's children scattered abroad, both Gentile and Jew, into one body, which is called the church: "and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad" (v. 52).

Well, from this time on the plot to kill Jesus was operational, as they had in their own minds tried and killed Him already: "So from that day on they planned together to kill Him" (v. 53).

In our text of John 12 it says "So the Pharisees said to one another, You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him'" (v. 12:19. This simply fueled their hatred for Him and their fear for their own positions.

So, we see the Hopeful Crowd; the Hand-Out Crowd; the Hateful Crowd.

Next month: the Honest Crowd.

Wayne Barber is senior pastor of Hoffmantown Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
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