After Jesus raises Lazarus back to life, the excitement caused by the miracle worries the members of the Sanhedrin. If they leave Jesus alone, people will flock to him and acclaim him king. This will surely invite the heavy hand of the Romans. Caiaphas, head of the Sanhedrin, sees Jesus as expendable: better him to perish than the whole nation. Unworthy though he might be of his high office, Caiaphas thus becomes God’s instrument in proclaiming the truth about Jesus: without knowing it, or even while intending the opposite, Caiaphas prophesies that Jesus is going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.
GOSPEL • JOHN 11:45-56
Many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, “What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs. If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish.” He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God. So from that day on they planned to kill him. So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews, but he left for the region near the desert, to a town called Ephraim, and there he remained with his disciples.
Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before Passover to purify themselves. They looked for Jesus and said to one another as they were in the temple area, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?”