WHAT DO WE? #654
Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. (JOH 11:47).
The connecting word then points back to the previous verses where Jesus performed a notable miracle. Some saw it as a great deliverance from death and believed. Others saw it as a threat to the empire Satan had built in their hearts, and they went to the chief priests to inform them.
What does the resurrection power of Christ mean to us? JOH 11:43-46 says, "And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done."
They realized He was the Messiah, but He was not the Messiah they were looking for. They were looking for a Messiah who would build an earthly kingdom with pomp and glory wherein their pride would be gratified as servants of that Messiah, and here comes a Messiah who undermines their whole empire. In JOH 11:48 we read: "If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation."
The true concern of these of these unregenerate hypocrites is what Jesus spoke of in JOH 3:19: "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." That light showed the hypocrisy of their own hearts. Their own consciences told them that Jesus was the Christ.
JOH 6:15 says, "When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone." Jesus testified before Pilate in JOH 18:36: "My kingdom is not of this world." A king, yes, but not a king of this world. He made it clear that He was no threat to the Romans.
See the difference between the Jewish accusers of Christ and the jailer when he saw an earthquake that shook the foundations of the prison, yet not one of the prisoners escaped. ACT 16:29-32 says, "Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house."
Would it not have been a blessed thing if these Pharisees and chief priests had asked, "What must we do to be saved?" They had been convicted of their sin. They knew that Jesus was the Messiah, but He set up a kingdom that was not of this world. His kingdom was established upon the throne people's hearts. They had no desire to have Christ as king in their heart. Their hearts had established the prince of this world as king. Our hearts have to be changed, and our actions must reveal this change. The Pharisees were not willing to make the sacrifice it takes to serve the Lord. They were not willing to give up the things of this life. They were not willing to give up that empire of Satan that was established in their hearts. They were not willing to write death upon that old man of sin.
Man cannot come into the presence of truth and light without shame and confusion of face as we see from the prophet Isaiah. ISA 6:1 says, "In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple." Look what the prophet Isaiah sees when he comes in the presence of the Lord. ISA 6:5 says, "Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts."
How much more in the miracles of Jesus do you suppose those hypocrites saw the uncleanness of their own hearts? Rather than come like Isaiah and confess the uncleanness of their hearts, they had hearts filled with murder. Nothing troubles infidels more than believers whose actions prove they have the Spirit of Christ. 1-SA 18:14-15 says, "And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the LORD was with him. Wherefore when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him." King Saul was afraid of David. He could see that Spirit of Christ in David.
1-SA 24:17-19 says, "And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil. And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me: forasmuch as when the LORD had delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not. For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore the LORD reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day." The Lord Jesus had done the same for these scribes and Pharisees. Saul knew that the kingdom of Israel would be established in David's hand, even as these scribes and Pharisees knew that the kingdom of God would be established in the hand of Jesus Christ. Look what Saul said to David in 1-SA 24:21, "Swear now therefore unto me by the LORD, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father's house."
See the testimony of Peter to Cornelius about the Lord Jesus. In ACT 10:38-39 he says, "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree." See the beautiful gospel principle that flows from this in ACT 10:35: "But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him."-not only among the Jews, but among the Gentiles.
The light of truth often helps remove smaller differences between those who hate the light. We see this with the scribes, the Sadducees and the Pharisees. The Apostle Paul used the theological enmity of the Sadducees and the Pharisees to his advantage. The Sadducees and the Pharisees had utter hatred for each other, yet they joined together to crucify Christ. In ACT 23:6-8 we read, "But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both." The Lord Jesus could have used that same strategy if He was looking to find a way of escape.
All these things only brought about God's eternal purpose of what Jesus said in MAT 26:53-56, "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled."
The Lord Jesus was not helplessly falling into their hands. He lay down His life that He might take it again. He did it in full obedience to the Father's command. How is it that the chief priests, the scribes and the Pharisees did not understand the very prophecies that Jesus spoke of? Their eyes were blinded. PSA 2:2 says, "The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together." Is this not exactly what our text is speaking of?
Oh, how little did these infidels realized the meaning of PSA 76:10: "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain." Why did they not they take Him when He taught in the temple? Their wrath was restrained. The Lord did not allow them to put a hand on Him until it was the Lord's time.
So, far from frustrating God's purpose, these enemies of Christ and His kingdom were God's very instruments to fulfill His purpose. PSA 2:4-6 says, "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion."
Little did they know what they were doing. Little did they know that they were fulfilling the very counsel of God. See what Caiaphas prophesied in JOH 11:50-52, "Now consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad." What a prophecy! He died not for the Jews only, but for the whole world. Little did they know what they were doing.
This same council had attempted before to take Jesus, but it was not God's time. JOH 7:44-46 says, "And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him. Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spake like this man." The gracious word that proceeded from His mouth overpowered the enemy and they were not able to touch Him.
Their bitter hatred and determination to destroy the Lord Jesus Christ had now reached its climax. How could these chief priests and Pharisees and Sadducees have dared to stretch forth a hand against the Lord Jesus after they had seen such wonders and miracles done by Him? How could Pharaoh have dared to follow the children of Israel into the Red Sea after he had just seen the ten great plaques? ROM 9:17 gives us the answer. "For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth." The Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart. The Lord hardened the heart of these men who were bringing about the death of Christ. See how awesome the reality of what God said in ROM 9:18: "Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth." These infidels were hardened. The Lord had hardened their hearts that the miracles would not have a saving effect on them.
Many of those whom the Lord hardened to bring about His eternal purpose were still saved later. What a blessing! When we see our loved ones so hardened against the gospel, what a blessing to know that even though the Lord may have hardened him today, the day may come that He may still bring them to salvation, that He will melt that hard and stony heart. ACT 2:36-39 says, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." Their consciences were touched when the Holy Spirit charged to their account.
Now, we are not so emotional about the Romans and their soldiers, about Caiaphas and all his gang and their plot. The Lord of life and glory, that blessed Redeemer whom you have crucified, becomes both Lord and Christ. "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." What a promise to those who have the call of the gospel: repent and believe. "For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."
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