Saturday, September 11, 2010
So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the Council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “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.” He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they made plans to put him to death. John 11:48-53
We humans get fearful after a major tragedy and then we get angry and seek revenge. People have always plotted some scenarios of revenge for injury and continue plotting when others threaten their way of life. Nine years after the horrific attacks on American soil, we are debating and plotting to figure how to make sense of things and how to get our way of life back. How do we get our innocence and our nation back?
These were the very same conversations that the Temple Council wrestled with all those many years ago when Jesus of Nazareth came on the scene. His ministry was not violent but gentle, but the religious leadership feared and somehow knew that this messiah wasn't going away easily and that they would have to take measures in their own hands. This Jesus was challenging and dismantling the sacred icons and way of life of a people. The nation held on by a thread by cooperating with their Roman authority. It was a fragile, negotiated balance which was threatened by the young man from Galilee. The good of a nation was balanced against the stridency and effectiveness of one man and the one man lost. In truth, everyone lost and gained as we look back from this distance in history. God looked on the brokenness of the world and brought healing and transformation despite their human fears and plotting. And God will continue to bring healing and transformation to our present day.
May this be a day when we seek to respond in prayer and compassion rather than plotting. Our plotting and politics get us nowhere. But God, who loves us more than we can ever know, will restore and mend all that is broken through our open arms and hearts.