Today John tells us that many did not believe and continued to inform the High Council of the “signs” Jesus was performing.
Caiaphas and the priests sat about discussing the “problem.” I find it most interesting that the problem was that all these signs would “cause people to believe in him.” And if this happened, Rome would move in and take over, crushing the nation.
A couple of things seem at work here. First it is unlikely that Rome would have had any interest in Jesus at all but for the fact that the Council was framing him as the claimed Messiah–a military threat to Rome for sure. Of course we know that Jesus was no such thing, his Messiahship was something entirely new and beyond the narrow thinking of the Pharisees and Sanhedrin.
Second, the High Council saw the end of their control, their positions of power if you will, as the direct result of Jesus’ ascendency, and this they were not prepared to tolerate. Sure, they couched it in terms of blasphemy and other such charges, but reading between the lines, we recognize the desire to preserve their positions within the community and with Rome.
This makes it easy for Caiaphas to declare that it is better for one man to die for the nation than for the nation to be destroyed. [Jn 11:50] Of course Caiaphas had no idea just how prophetic he was. Jesus indeed would die for a nation–the nation of humanity!
So we see two evils at work here, a closed mindedness coupled with self-preservation in it’s most evil manifestation.
Most of us of course know the end of this story. While many in Jerusalem talked and wondered about whether Jesus would enter Jerusalem, the High Council prepared for that eventuality. And Jesus, always sure of what would happen, prepared to enter the City in a way that would leave little doubt as to claims of Messiahship that swirled about the city and countryside.
Although Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin thought they were in control of events opening before them, of course they were not. All would be as Jesus had said long before. All would be done to offer humanity a new way of seeing, a new way of hearing, a new way of being.