The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 123

Return to Judea to Raise Lazarus ~ Part 4

In this post, we conclude our examination of His Raising of Lazarus. Note: There are no Red Letter Words in this post, but I thought it provided the needed background for what is to follow.

The Sanhedrin Plots to Kill Yeshua

Let’s pick up the story where we left off in the last post. El’azar has been raised to life. 45 At this, many of the Judeans who had come to visit Miryam and had seen what Yeshua had done trusted in him.

46 But some of them went off to the P’rushim and told them what He had done. 47 So the head cohanim and the P’rushim called a meeting of the Sanhedrin and said, “What are we going to do? – for this man is performing many miracles.

The head cohanim and the P’rushim, the two focal points of opposition to Yeshua in the Judean establishment, called a meeting of the Sanhedrin, the ruling council, but it was an illegal meeting. This nighttime meeting was illegal; some scholars believe this particular Sanhedrin was not even official. Nevertheless, there seems to be little doubt that this body, whomever it consisted of, included important establishment figures and, in condemning Yeshua, carried out an action that expressed the desire of many P’rushim and Tz’dukim. [1]

48 If we let Him keep going on this way, everyone will trust in Him, and the Romans will come and destroy both the Temple and the nation.”

The establishment had a working relationship with Rome even though it was an oppressing foreign power. This relationship was perceived as threatened by anyone whom Rome might regard as intending to lead a revolt and set up an independent government. Everyone will trust in Him as the longed-for Messianic king who would restore Israel’s national glory.

49 But one of them, Kayafa (Caiaphas), who was cohen gadol that year, said to them, “You people don’t know anything! 50 You don’t see that it’s better for you if one man dies on behalf of the people so that the whole nation won’t be destroyed.” 51 Now, he didn’t speak this way on his own initiative; rather, since he was cohen gadol that year, he was prophesying that Yeshua was about to die on behalf of the nation, 52 and not for the nation alone, but so that He might gather into one the scattered children of God. 53 From that day on, they made plans to have Him put to death. 54 Therefore, Yeshua no longer walked around openly among the Judeans but went away from there into the region near the desert to a town called Efrayim and stayed there with His talmidim. [2]

On behalf of the people. Kayafa’s intended sense is “instead of the people.” That is, “Better for us to ensure that Yeshua is put to death than that thousands of our people die at the hands of Romans suppressing a rebellion.” But Kayafa … was cohen gadol that fateful year, and for this reason, even though he was an evil man, God used him to prophesy. As v. 51 explains, his words carried more profound significance than Kayafa’s intended sense. The deeper significance involves exchanging Kayafa’s meaning for one, implying that Yeshua would fulfill Isaiah 53:6,

“All of us, like sheep, have gone astray;
we have turned everyone to his own way;
and Adonai has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.”

Yeshua would pay the death penalty for sin instead of on behalf of the people of Isra’el and on behalf of non-Jews. For a discussion of how this works, see Romans 5:12–21.

In our next, we will begin to explore Yeshua’s Final Journey to Yerushalayim.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, Mark 14:55.
[2] Yochanan11:45–54.

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