Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what he had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council, and said, “What are we to do? This man is performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.”
But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all! You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.” He did not say this on his own, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was about to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the dispersed children of God. So from that day on they planned to put him to death.
Jesus therefore no longer walked about openly among the Jews, but went from there to a town called Ephraim in the region near the wilderness; and he remained there with the disciples. Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. They were looking for Jesus and were asking one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? Surely he will not come to the festival, will he?”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
I tend to think about the people who encounter Jesus in the Gospel stories as being either believers, or unbelievers. It is interesting to note the first words of the chief priests and Pharisees in today’s Gospel, though. They are afraid because “this man is performing many signs.” It is not disbelief in these signs that upsets them; they acknowledge that he is performing signs. Their fear is that others will come to believe in Jesus and there will be political ramifications from their Roman rulers. The leaders of the Jewish people are willing to overlook a message from God—and indeed overlook the Messiah himself!—because they are afraid of the consequences. They are afraid of how their lives might have to change.
What are the ways that God is speaking to you in your life? Are there signs or people who you are overlooking because the message requires you to rethink something you thought you knew? How is God inviting you to follow him as we prepare to enter into this Holy Week?
—The Jesuit Prayer team
Good and gracious God, you speak to me in many ways and through many people. Help me to better recognize your presence and movement in my life, no matter how unexpected it may seem. Lead me to a greater openness to follow you. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer team