We are moving inexorably toward the cross and Good Friday. The season of Lent marches on and within a few weeks we will be considering if we were there when they crucified my Lord. Today’s Gospel lesson chronicles the forward progress to the ultimate suffering and death of Jesus. Within the Apostle John’s account, two streams run parallel with one another. There is a group of Jews who observed Jesus, listened to his teaching, saw his miraculous works, and believed in him. Alongside them is another group of Jews who experienced all the same events and heard all of the same words of Jesus. Yet, they respond in a very different manner by plotting how Jesus might be arrested and killed.
Caiaphas, the high priest, spoke to his fellow Jewish leaders perhaps without even knowing the truth and deep import of his prophetic words: “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” Indeed, not only did Jesus die for the nation of Israel, but on behalf of all nations, and all people.
Now is the time to begin in earnest a consideration of the cross of Christ. The implications of his death are magnanimous. The extent of his atonement for the people includes redemption from the slavery of sin; reconciliation between us and God; satisfaction of God’s wrath against the sin of the world; and, victory over Satan, death, and hell. March Madness for the Christian is setting aside some significant time for prayer, confession of sin, repentance, contemplation, spiritual conversation with other believers, and fasting as we anticipate the holiest week of the year.
Precious Jesus, you endured the machinations of people and the plots of others so that you might face the cross in all of its foulness and degradation. Enable me to walk with you along the road of suffering. In doing so, may I know you better and better and know the life that is truly life. Amen.