Why Did Jesus Have To Die? (John 11:45-57)

Why Did Jesus Have To Die? (John 11:45-57)

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MPS: Jesus died in order to redeem sinful people from all walks of life to gather them together as His bride.

According to Caiaphas, Jesus had to die in order to save Israel from further Roman oppression. (45-50)

Notice that in the text The religious leaders never doubt that Jesus raised Lazarus from death. How incredible must your cynicism, selfishness, and fear of preserving your own privileges that you can believe a man raised a dead man to life and your reaction is to then kill that man.

Not only did the Pharisees believe that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead but they say, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs.” They didn’t dispute these signs. They recognized that these signs must have come from an extraordinary source. Indeed, they came from the Christ, the Savior, the One promised by God since the fall of man. But the Pharisees were blinded by their own greed and self absorption that they deceived themselves. They had eyes but couldn’t see, ears and couldn’t hear, hearts and could feel.

The religious leaders feared that more people would follow Jesus and cause the Romans to interfere in their national & religious affairs. Why wouldn’t this be a fear for them? Jesus is performing signs and miracles that point to Him being the Messiah, the people would understandably be excited as they believe in Him as the Son of God.

The Pharisees clung so closely to their national identity and privileges given to them by the Romans as the Romans would hold incredible influence over who was chosen to be chief priest as well as other key religious positions. Instead of God-fearin men who stand on their religious convictions their religious identity needed to take a backseat. Their devotion to God was supplanted by their devotion to power and influence. 

Therefore, the religious leaders thought it best for Israel to kill Jesus in order to preserve their national & religious identity. The politically expedient option to deal with this Jesus was to find a way to kill Him. It didn’t matter how immoral this might seem. They convinced themselves that this was for the greater good. They could preserve the status quo and protect their authority by killing a man who has done nothing wrong.

For them, Jesus had to die in order to save Israel from further Roman oppression. They feared that the Jewish extremists might make Jesus their leader and seek to overthrow the Roman Empire’s oppression of their freedom. The Pharisees didn’t want this they desired to stay in bondage to their Roman masters. Instead of worshipping at the foot God they would rather worship the one who made them a footstool. 

This happens to us today as the Church. We are quick to cast aside godliness and holiness for the sake of political expediency. Our desire is to create a manmade religion that focuses on immediate gratification and satisfies our flesh. If you don’t believe me then think about what satisfies you the most. Think about what your calendar revolves around. Can you miss an episode, a practice, or go without something for a day, week, month, or year? Are you more concerned about an election that might not go your way than you are about your neighbor’s salvation and well being? Are you okay with not spending time in prayer or Bible Reading but you won’t miss an episode of your favorite show? You aren’t putting your flesh to death you’re crucifying Christ all over again.

Jesus says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”(Lk. 14:26) How much more must you put these other things to death? Paul writes, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming” (Col. 3:5-6) The sin of the Pharisees is the same sin that we struggle with today, the idolatry of self. We put our fleshly desires as the greatest treasure of our hearts. Instead, God is to be our greatest treasure. We are to measure our lives not by our political, athletic, academic, or career achievements, but by our joyful obedience to Christ.

According to God, Jesus had to die in order to save people from the oppression of sin. (51-52)

As the Chief Priest, God guided Caiaphas to predict that Jesus would come to die for His people. This vision that Caiphas was given was interpreted by him to mean that Jesus must die to preserve the nation. He interpreted this prediction through his own personal wickedness influenced by power, politics, & narrowmindedness. This is cautionary for every Pastor, teacher of the Word, Elder, Deacon, and even every individual believer. We all can read God’s Word through these same lenses.

Our goal in understanding God’s Word is to get to the original meaning. What did the Author intend for His audience? What is its main point? What are we to glean from this truth? This means that we attempt to peel back as many assumptions about a text as possible. Our assumptions filter how we understand something. These assumptions are given to us by experiences, teachers, culture, etc. 

We don’t want to be Caiphas’. We want to be Bereans , Luke says in Acts 17, “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” To be Bereans or students of the Word we must be in the Word. We must always be reforming. We must always be searching our hearts and the Word. We must be eager to discover the truth from God.

Had Caiphas been a Berean, he would’ve seen that Jesus would die to satisfy God’s wrath towards humanity’s sin. Romans 5:9-10 says, “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

Caiphas and the Pharisees understood that the death of Christ would satisfy the wrath of the Romans. However, God’s plan of redemption would satisfy the wrath of a greater King and a greater Emperor. For sinful men are due perfect judgment from our perfect God, which results in the perfect satisfaction of His perfect wrath. But “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Rom. 8:29)

To be the firstborn among many brothers helps us to understand that Jesus died to redeem God’s people. John comments in verse 52 that the purpose of Caiphas’ vision is, “to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad”. Some might take this to mean that God is bringing together all of the Jews from the dispersion. However, we learn later that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28) 

John Calvin comments on this passage and says, “John shows that the whole of our salvation consists in this, that Christ should assemble us into one; for in this way he reconciles us to the Father, in whom is the fountain of lifeThus, the communion of saints is a preparation for eternal life, because all whom Christ does not gather to the Father remain in death

God has redeemed for Himself a people. God redeems these people with no regard for our socio-economic background, race, ethnicity, nationality, or religious background. He redeems for His pleasure and glory. He did it through the death of His Son whom He raised three days after His death. That Son, Jesus Christ, now sits at the right hand of the Father praying on our behalf.

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