My God Is Greater


John 11:45-50 (KJV)  Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.  [46]  But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.  [47]  Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.  [48]  If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.  [49]  And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,  [50]  Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.

We miss some of the best Scripture teachings by not carefully reading the text. I don’t know that I have ever heard a sermon preached on the above text. But – if God will – I hope to preach this text tonight.

The resurrection of Lazarus by Jesus was a turning point in our Lord’s ministry

Prior to this Jesus did most of His ministry among the Jewish people. Though He approached a few Gentiles – people like the Samaritan woman at the well (see John 4) – Jesus focused on Israel. The resurrection of Lazarus changed all this. The Pharisees who constantly attacked Jesus were threatened by that resurrection. Many of the Jews who were against Jesus suddenly believed on Him. The Pharisees saw their power ebbing.

[47]  Then gathered the chief priests
and the Pharisees a council
(the Sanhedrin)

There were 24 courses or shifts of priests in the Temple, and each had a chief priest. The chief priests and the Pharisees got together to decide what to do about Jesus. These enemies of Christ formed a 70 person “Supreme Court” over Israel called the Sanhedrin. They met for one reason – to decide what to do about Jesus.

[47] What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.

Even with all His miracles they did not see Jesus as God’s Messiah. According to them Jesus was a possessed man.

They called Him “this MAN”. They were convinced in their minds that the things Jesus was doing was not of God, but of Beelzebub. In fact, they accused Jesus of this to His face:

Matthew 12:24 (KJV) … This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.

Jesus told them how ridiculous this was. He said:

Matthew 12:26-28 (KJV) … if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?  [27]  And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.  [28]  But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

But they would not hear. The reason they would not hear is because they were not living for the glory of God, but for themselves. They were not living on FAITH but on FEELING. They were not searching the Scriptures to see if Christ was indeed the Messiah, but were living to support their own agenda.

[48]  If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

Their fear was that they would lose THEIR PLACE and THEIR NATION. It was not God they were concerned about, but themselves.

Then Caiaphas Spoke Up

[49]  And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all …

Caiaphas spoke up, “You know nothing at all!”. He then proceeded to explain why he thought Jesus ought to be killed.

[50]  Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.

His reason for killing Jesus was that:

  • One Man (Jesus) should die for the people, and that by dying
  • His death would preserve Israel from destruction at the hands of the Romans.

The Bible tells us that Caiaphas was the High Priest of Israel this year. Caiaphas was High Priest in Israel along with Annas when John the Baptist received his call to preach from the Lord (see Luke 3:2).

Caiaphas was a schemer, a plotter,
and lived to make himself great!

  • Caiaphas was unqualified to be High Priest. Caiaphas it seems worked his way into the High Priesthood by marrying Annas daughter. Once married to her, he claimed the right to be the High Priest … though the High Priest was only to be descended from Aaron.
  • Caiaphas did not believe in the resurrection that our Lord preached. Caiaphas was that he was a Sadducee, not a Pharisee (see Acts 5:17). The Pharisees for all their faults believed in a resurrection of the dead. The Sadducees believed that when you died you ceased to exist, that this life was all there is. The Sadducees were the most liberal of those in Judaism. And yet Caiaphas was the High Priest!
  • Caiaphas was focused on his glory, not God’s glory. The man was not a believer in Christ, nor a son of God by faith. He was an opportunist. When he said what he said it was to encourage the council to seek Jesus’ life.

What was the result of this meeting? We read:

John 11:53-54 (KJV)  Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put {Jesus} to death. [54]  Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.

Though Jesus came to this earth to die for our sins,

Romans 4:25 (KJV) {Jesus} was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

His death was not to occur until the Passover. So Jesus began ministering in Ephraim, a village about 13 miles northeast of Jerusalem. Jesus ceased going to the Temple to preach, but continued preaching while He waited for the Passover. We are told:

John 11:55-57 (KJV)  And the Jews’ passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves.  [56]  Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast?  [57]  Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.

The Pharisees and Chief Priests lay in wait for Jesus. Many thought that Jesus would avoid the Passover lest He be killed. In reality, Jesus would go to the Passover, and would be seized there after celebrating the Meal. Jesus would die.

Jesus Would Die Just As Caiaphas Prophesied!

We skipped a couple of very important verses up until this point. We’ve spoken of Caiaphas and the council that gathered to plot Jesus’ death. We read the words of Caiaphas in verse 50:

.. [50] Nor consider that it is expedient {better} for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.

What did God say of Caiaphas’ words? The Lord told us …

John 11:51-52 (KJV)  And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;  [52]  And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

Caiaphas did not speak these words OF HIMSELF. They did not come from his own power. The words that Caiaphas spoke were a PROPHECY. Now I want you to consider the magnitude of this.

God caused an unbeliever to prophesy!

What does this teach us? It is that ..

God is ALWAYS in control!

When Caiaphas said “it is EXPEDIENT (or BETTER) for us that one Man should die for the people” he was sealing Christ’s death. These words are Jesus’ death warrant. Caiaphas wanted Jesus out of the way for his own purposes – but God was in control.

Jacob stole Esau’s birthright – but GOD is in control.
Saul thought he keep David from being king – but GOD is in control.
Goliath thought he was Big Man On Campus – but GOD is in control.
King David thought he could have Uriah’s wife – but GOD is in control.
Jonah though he could run from God – but GOD is in control.
They tried to make Daniel a happy meal for lions – but GOD is in control!
Herod killed all the babies in Bethlehem – but GOD is in control.
Peter denied Christ before the rooster crowed – but GOD is in control.
Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ with a kiss – but GOD is in control.
Pilate thought to seal Christ in the tomb – but GOD is in control.
Hating SAUL became a Christ filled PAUL because GOD is in control.

Caiaphas set a death sentence on Christ, but GOD made it a prophecy. Prophecy is something only GOD can enable. It is God Who gives the power to prophesy (1 Corinthians 12:28). The Scripture says:

2 Peter 1:21 (KJV)  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Caiaphas is not a “holy man of God” but God moved him, and used him to prophecy of the coming death of Christ. When Caiaphas said “it is better that one man should die for the people” he sought to execute Christ. But in reality it was God saying “it is better that Christ die”. God the Father killed His Son because it was better for us, and better for Israel. Jesus did not die because of Caiaphas and the council nor because of their death sentence. Jesus died because it was the only way that the Father could make us into His sons. The Prophet Isaiah wrote:

Isaiah 53:3-4 (KJV)  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  [4]  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, SMITTEN OF GOD, AND AFFLICTED.

Our Jesus was smitten of God. God struck Him. God crushed Him. Jesus was and is our Substitute, and this was God’s intention from the beginning.

he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; [52]  And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

Christ would come to die for the sins not just of Israel, but for all people. Christ came to be the Savior of His Church, His people.

Ephesians 5:23 (KJV) …. Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Colossians 1:18 (KJV)  And he is the head of the body, the church: …

The stumbling of Israel and their rejection of Christ came about because God not only wanted to save Israel, but because He wanted to save the Gentiles as well. The Apostle wrote:

Romans 11:11 (KJV)  I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

God intends on saving Israel. But Israel rejected Christ, so Christ turned to the Gentiles. Yet God is not done with His Israel. Jesus came so that He could gather all together in one Body His Family.

Ephesians 1:10-12 (KJV)  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:  [11]  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:  [12]  That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

God has a people that He is saving, and they are those who have received His substitutionary death as their own. Christ died for me. God said “It is BETTER that Christ die for me”. Why? Because only in Christ and His substitutionary death can I be saved.

Jesus told His Jewish audience:

John 10:16 (KJV)  And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

Jesus never came just for the Jews – He came for all. He came for every fallen person who would call on Him for salvation. Jesus is the Savior of the Jew first, but also the Gentile:

Romans 1:16-18 (KJV)  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  [17]  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.  [18]  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Jesus Christ came for the Jews first, but also came for you and I. He came for people of every color. I heard a preacher say the other day “There is only one race of people, the human race. There are diverse people groups because of the Tower of Babel, but only one race, one blood of people”. This is so true.

2 Corinthians 5:15 (KJV) {Christ} died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

Jesus died for all. Though Caiaphas was an unbeliever, selfish and self seeking, the message God spoke through Him is nonetheless true. Christ will save whosoever will, for He died for all.

Practical Application Of Our Text

Though Caiaphas was the High Priest and an unbeliever, he was not the power that day nor any day – God is the power. The Bible tells us:

Romans 13:1 (KJV)  Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Though Caiaphas was a Sadducee and an idolater, God allowed him to be where he was. And God used Caiaphas for His glory. God is in control. God knows what is best! Here are five truths to take home from this text:

  1. God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). We may not understand why bad things happen or why seemingly wicked people like Caiaphas get ahead but rest assured – GOD IS IN CONTROL.
  2. God uses broken things for His glory, so He can use me. If God can prophesy through a murderous unbeliever like Caiaphas God can certainly use you and I. Trust Him. Do good. He saved you to do good.
  3. The substitutionary death of Christ was absolutely necessary for us to become God’s sons. The Son of God had to become the Son of Man so that sons of men can become Sons of God.
  4. If I am in Christ I will sometimes fail, but Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, so that He might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). When I fail I will look to Him Who loved me and gave Himself for me.
  5. God is not done with His Israel. Christ died for Israel as He died for us. There is a wideness in God’s mercy. Let us keep praying for Israel, and for those around us. The door of salvation is open to whosoever will. I pray that all will find Him this very day!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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