Many of the Jews who had come with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw what he did; but some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees called together the Council.
They said, “What are we to do? For this man keeps on performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, all the people will believe in him and, as a result of this, the Romans will come and destroy our Holy Place and our nation.”
Then one of them, Caiaphas, who was High Priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! It is better to have one man die for the people than to let the whole nation be destroyed.”
In saying this Caiaphas did not speak for himself, but being High Priest that year, he foretold like a prophet that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also would die in order to gather into one the scattered children of God. So, from that day on, they were determined to kill him.
Because of this, Jesus no longer moved about freely among the Jews. He withdrew instead to the country near the wilderness, and stayed with his disciples in a town called Ephraim.
The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and people from everywhere were coming to Jerusalem to purify themselves before the Passover. They looked for Jesus and, as they stood in the temple, they talked with one another, “What do you think? Will he come to the festival?” Meanwhile the chief priests and the elders had given orders that anyone who knew where he was should let them know, so that they could arrest him.
After raising Lazarus from the dead, the Jewish leaders were so threatened; it became clear that Jesus would have to be killed because “it is better to have one man die for the people than to let the whole nation be destroyed.” Jesus’ prophetic life and signs brought threats and, in the end, execution by those who feared his power and message. The call to live one’s prophetic call has always been costly as lived by the prophets of old. We know of people who have lived their prophetic vocation faithfully to the point of imprisonment and even death. Speaking out against injustices and inequalities, standing for the rights of the poor, acting for systemic and social change, challenging the wealthy and the powerful – all these are all difficult and costly. Yet this is what Christian discipleship implies. Today we hear many calls and attractions, which can be confusing. Many prefer to be deaf and not hear the calls afraid of facing difficulties; others, like some of the Jews, rely on external authorities to tell them how they must believe and respond. We are invited to be sensitive to the Spirit’s action and to discern where we are being led.
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