Lent Reflection: Friday 27th March 2020
Bible Reading: John 18:12-14
Jesus had been arrested by a band of Roman soldiers and Jewish temple police officers. They had briefly glimpsed at the true nature of Jesus, His divine identity.
But everything planned by God from the beginning still needed to come to pass.
Jesus was led before a man named Annas and then before Annas’ son-in-law, Caiaphas.
Caiaphas was high priest at the time, a position of immense spiritual and political importance among the Jews.
Annas had previously been high priest but had been removed from the position by a Roman governor some years before. Still, he and his family remained rich and powerful, and many of his sons succeeded him as high priest.
Back in John 11:50 Caiaphas had advised the ruling Jewish council that it would be better for one man should die for the people, rather than the whole Jewish nation perish.
The Romans had ruled over Israel since the Roman general Pompey had invaded and captured Jerusalem in 63BCE. There were many in Israel who resented this invasion and loss of freedom and sovereignty; they saw Rome as the great enemy.
There were also many people who collaborated with the Romans in their occupation, and they were generally not popular!
But Caiaphas said that it was better for one man to die, not from his own understanding but because God caused him to prophesy that message. That Jesus needed to die for the whole nation of Israel was a message that came from God through Caiaphas.
And it is not just for the nation of Israel that Jesus needed to die. It was for each and every one of us. Jesus has to die for the entire world.
He has to die in order to defeat the power of Sin; He has to live again in order to defeat the power of Death.
For Sin to be overcome, for Death to be defeated, this needs a radical and powerful solution. To rid the world of these twin powers of evil, requires death and new life. As Jesus says right at the beginning of John’s gospel, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
Only Jesus has the power to bring about this new world, this new creation. And so it is that He has to die for the whole world.
The world of sin and tears and death is being brought to end, and a new life where sin and tears and death are no more, is the promise that now lies ahead of us, because Jesus loved us and gave His life for us all.
Loving Father, we thank you for your faithfulness and for your grace.
Lord Jesus, we thank you that, in your loving obedience to your Father, you gave up your life to rescue the whole world.
Holy Spirit, we pray that you would open our eyes and help us to understand the depths of God’s great love for us.
We pray this in the everlasting name of Jesus.