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Nor 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 that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. (JOH 11:50-52).

The Lord tells us in ISA 55:7-9: "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."

The high priest did not rightly understand the Lord's purpose in what he was prophesying. In His infinite wisdom the Lord uses the wrath of man to bring praise to His glorious Name as we learn from PSA 76:10: "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain." He restrains that wrath to bring about only His purpose. They cannot go beyond that.

JOH 11:53-54 says, "Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death. Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples." The Lord Jesus withdrew Himself because it was not yet His time.

The Jews' Passover was at hand. The Passover was the type and symbol of the sacrifice and atonement of Christ. The Lord's time was that these two should go together. We often find that some of the most blessed truths come forth from the most critical accusations.

Our blessed Saviour's gospel message had shined the light into the secret heart sins of the scribes and Pharisees when He said in LUK 14:34-35: "Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." The scribes and the Pharisees did not have ears to hear, and yet they knew that He had spoken these things against them. It was a call for them to repent.

Watch what happened in LUK 15:1-2, when the Lord Jesus told them about the salt having lost its savour. "Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them." Can you think of something that gives a greater consolation to the children of God than to know that the Lord Jesus Christ receives sinners and eats with them? The problem with the scribes and Pharisees was that they never understood that they were sinners.

The scribes and Pharisees did not understand the call to repent. They did not understand that a change of heart was required to bring them into oneness with Christ. So, as a result of this criticism, the Lord Jesus spoke three parables, and what did He teach of the true principles of gospel repentance?

First we must come to ourselves. This was what was lacking in the scribes and Pharisees. They did not understand their own hearts. They did not understand the crucifixion of self, of the old man of sin. They did not understand marking death upon self, upon sin and upon all of the flesh. He teaches that in LUK 15:17: "And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!" He came to himself. He saw his poverty. He saw that he was a sinner. He saw that he needed to change his ways. He saw how foolish he was to be wallowing with the swine.

The second principle is that we must examine our own hearts carefully to determine wherein we must repent, and we must also carefully plan how we are going to repent, how we are going to change our walk of life. What needs cleaning up? LUK 15:18-19 says, "I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants."

The third and most important principle Jesus taught about repentance was that we must put that plan into action. It is not until you put true, carefully planned repentance into action that you have repented. In LUK 15:20 we read, "And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." It is when obedience of faith goes into action that we see true repentance bearing fruit.

Seeing how the greater part of the people believed on Jesus enraged their wrath against Him. JOH 11:48 says, "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." They had built themselves an earthly realm. They were looking for a Messiah under whom they could serve in a position of honor. This was precisely what Jesus had revealed about their un-repenting spirit in LUK 20:14: "But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours." Hypocritical religion today preaches a crucified Christ. They seize upon the death of Christ for the inheritance. They have no concern about being reconciled with God. They have no concern about knowing the precious will of God. They have no concern about repenting. All that is taught is that by the sacrifice of Christ that we can escape and have the inheritance.

This hypocrisy is what Jesus was telling these scribes and Pharisees, and this is the concern we need to examine in our own hearts. Except you repent, you will perish, except you have a desire to do what is pleasing in the eyes of the Lord. LUK 20:19 says, "And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them." Hypocrites are often more religious than the righteous. They put on a big front, but their hearts have never been changed. They are religious but they have never repented.

The Lord uses the very devises in the heart of man to bring about His eternal decrees. PRO 19:21 says, "There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand." They were going to kill the Lord Jesus Christ. They thought they were going to bring His work to naught, but what they did not know was that in so doing they would only bring about the eternal decree of God. Very little did Caiaphas realize the true meaning of what he said. He thought that by putting Him away the rest could keep their station.

See the source of the apostles' boldness as recorded in Scripture. They rightly understood the wonder of God's wisdom in using the wrath of man to express His praise. ACT 4:26-28 says, "The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." In their wrath and in their malice they were bringing about the very decree that God had decreed should be done.

The brothers of Joseph thought they could frustrate the counsel of God. What Joseph said to them was prophetic. GEN 50:20 says, "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive." The chief priests and Pharisees thought they could frustrate the counsel of God. From the side of human reason, Christ's death was brutal murder out of envy, but from God's side Christ's death was vicarious to satisfy the vengeance of God on our sins.

1TH 5:9-10 says, "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him." By His perfect obedience unto death, our blessed Saviour delivered us from captivity to the power of sin.

ZEC 9:11 says, "As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water." By the blood of the covenant, we are sent forth out of the prison of Satan, out of the pit of sin, out of the pit of misery, and are led forth out of that pit wherein there is no water. Water is a symbol of the Word of God. In this waterless pit there is no hope, there is no gospel. Jesus has by the blood of the covenant given a way of deliverance from the prison of Satan, from the power of sin and brought us into the light of the marvelous gospel of God.

By His death on Calvary's cross, our Saviour not only set us free from Satan's captivity, but He apprehended us to become His bond servants. We are not our own. He has purchased us with a price. He did not do this so we could be as gods doing what we think is right and wrong. We are arrested and brought into bonds and under the yoke of Christ. MAT 11:28 says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Look what the Apostle Paul speaks of in PHI 3:12. "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." As a servant of the Lord, he wanted to go out and place sinners under arrest.

Caiaphas had no conception of the very meaning of his own office. His office was to make the sacrifice, to take the lamb and to put it on the altar, the very type and symbol of what Christ did to make an atonement for sin. Yet his prophecy was synonymous with what Jesus told them in JOH 10:15-16: "As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." This prophecy of Caiaphas is synonymous with what Jesus said there.

GAL 3:26-29 says, "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Those who are in Christ are Abraham's seed.

In JOH 8:39 we see the Lord Jesus speaking to the scribes and Pharisees. "They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham." In other words, you would have that work of regeneration. You would no longer be serving under the power of sin. He is speaking of the spiritual seed of Abraham. Verses 44 to 46 say, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin?"

The prophecy of Caiaphas does not mean gathered together into one corporate body, but into one spiritual family. Look at 1PE 2:3-5: "If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." House comes from the Greek word oikos (oy'-kos), which means "a dwelling, a family or household, more or less related" as one family. A spiritual house means a spiritual family, and this can be of any kindred, tongue, people or nation. The Lord has His people in all different parts of the world and in all different backgrounds.

Not only was Jesus despised and rejected by His own nation, but they thirsted for His blood. JOH 1:11-13 says, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

What a beautiful description of the work of God's sovereign grace. Not of bloodlines, not because my father or mother was religious. Not because I am from this or that group, or because Abraham was my father. Nor of the will of the flesh. It is not because I want my children to be saved, that the Lord will save them. It is not because I want it. It is because the Father has so decreed.

While Jesus was in seclusion, His time was hastening on. JOH 11:55-56 said: "And the Jews' passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves. Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast?"

The Lord used that wretched, wicked design to bring about that which was written of Him. JOH 11:57 says, "Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him." This brought about the fulfilling of Scripture. In MAT 26:14-16 we read: "Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him." That did not mean that he could do it instantly. They could not do it until it was the Lord's time.

We see here the fulfilling of the original prophecy that was made in pronouncing the curse upon the serpent, as we see in GEN 3:15. "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." While the Lord Jesus was hanging on the cross, Satan did everything in his malicious power to drag Him down. He hung on His heels with all the might and power of hell to try to drag Him down from the cross to keep Him from fulfilling that atonement for the church of Christ, but his head got crushed. The powers of hell were destroyed. The power of sin was destroyed. His church was redeemed from all iniquity.

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