Today’s Scripture: John 11:38-44
45 Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen. 46 But some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together. “What are we going to do?” they asked each other. “This man certainly performs many miraculous signs. 48 If we allow him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation.”
49 Caiaphas, who was high priest at that time, said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about! 50 You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.”
51 He did not say this on his own; as high priest at that time he was led to prophesy that Jesus would die for the entire nation. 52 And not only for that nation, but to bring together and unite all the children of God scattered around the world.
53 So from that time on, the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus’ death.
“What are we going to do?” That’s the question that the high council asked after word started to spread that Jesus had brought Lazarus back from the dead. “What are we going to do?”
You would think there would be rejoicing. You would think they would be calling Jesus in to pledge allegiance to him and put him in charge. You would think they would want to stop what they were doing and follow him.
Instead, they are scared. Fear is the emotion behind the question “What are we going to do?” But what are they scared of? Fortunately, John tells us. They were scared that if they let him continue, everyone would follow him. And if THAT happened, the high council was convinced that the Romans would come and destroy everything. Remember, the Jewish people were living in occupied territory. It was the Romans who ran the show.
So the fear was that they would loose everything: their hold on power, their temple, their way of life. They were comfortable with the status quo (even though they were under the Roman thumb) and wanted it to stay that way. Jesus was a threat to all of that.
When was the last time you asked “What are we going to do?” Maybe it was a while ago. Maybe it was this morning! I wonder if you look back at that time you can see the fear in the question?
It’s OK to be scared. It’s OK to worry about how things might turn out. But what is not OK is to approach the question the way the high council did. They decided the best thing to do was to get rid of the threat. And in so doing they started down the road that would eventually lead to Jesus’ capital punishment. They decided the threat of change was too great.
We can do that too. Not, murder (hopefully). However, we can get so scared of change that we do everything in our power to make sure it does not happen. Fear has a way to making us do that.
There is another way to answer that question of “What are we going to do?” Instead of orchestrating life to stay the same, we can fall back into the arms of Jesus and ask “What do you WANT me to do?” It may be that God has something huge planed for you, but in order to get there you will need to let go of some things – your status quo might need to change. It’s still scary. But who knows what’s waiting on the other side?
God there are so many times we are scared of the future and asking “what are we going to do?” When those times come, help us to pause and seek your face. Help us to rest in the knowledge that you have us in your hands and will be with us no matter what.