The Sacrificial Lamb
Topic: Believe and Live Passage: John 11:47–11:57
In the midst of plotting Christ's death, the Sanhedrin inadvertently provided one of the clearest prophecies in the Bible of the sacrificial, substitutionary nature of Christ's death.
John's account of the Sanhedrin's small-minded, self-serving conspiracy to kill Jesus unfolds in five parts:
1. THE QUANDARY (vv. 47-48)
The Sanhedrin looked for a way to rid themselves of Jesus, who they viewed as a menace (Acts 23:6). The Saducees and the Pharisees were adversarial, but Jesus provided a common enemy. They saw that as Jesus' popularity grew, their authority was diminished. As such, both groups sought to preserve their own interests by seeking His death.
2. THE PROPHECY (vv. 49-50)
Caiaphus the High Priest, proposed before the council that Jesus be killed as a 'sacrificial lamb' so that an uprising would be prevented. This was an unwitting prophesy that Jesus would one day soon die as a substitutionary atonement for the sins of men so that they would be saved (Romans 5:8, 8:32, 2 Corinthians 5:14, 5:21, 1 Peter 2:24, Isaiah 53:3).
3. THE COMMENTARY (vv. 51-53)
The irony of the counsel that was given by the High Priest, who was not worthy of that position, was that it was nonetheless used by God to accomplish His will. In spite of the wicked heart of Caiaphus, God used him to foretell of the death of His Son Jesus. God's purpose in this was to tell the world that His Son was to die so that all men - not only the Jews, may be brought to salvation (Revelation 12:9).
4. THE SANCTUARY (v. 54)
Jesus retreated to Ephriam because it was not yet His time to die, and so that He could be at a place of safety, yet remain close enough to Jerusalem so that He may return to Jerusalem to finish His work and fully satisfy the will of God the Father.
5. THE EXPECTANCY (vv. 55-57)
This was the third Passover that Jesus was to celebrate in the city of Jerusalem. The pilgrims who journeyed to the city had wondered whether Jesus would dare return to celebrate the Passover, and waited in anticipation for a memorable encounter if He did. In the meantime, Jesus was preparing Himself to become the ultimate sacrificial lamb so that the will of God the Father could be satisfied.
Thank God for not sparing His Son but delivering Him up as a sacrificial lamb to die in your place on the cross. Thank Jesus for being willing to be your substitute so you could escape death and hell.