in John's Gospel -- Part 17
A Jewel of Gold in a
By: A.J. Higgins, M.D.
title for this article is taken from one of Solomonís
many proverbs. He used it to heighten the marked
contrast that occurs when truth and error, beauty and
vanity, or virtue and dishonor are seen in the same
John 11:49-52 we have a statement of dramatic irony; a
statement that qualifies for the "jewel of gold in
a swineís snout" category. The religious
leaders of the day had seen the effect of the raising of
Lazarus as discussed in the previous article. Their
great fear was that the following which Christ had
attracted would lead to a crisis with Roman authorities.
The end result would be that they would lose their
places in the establishment (vs. 47, 48). As they
deliberated their problem, Caiaphas, the high priest
know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient
that one man die for the people, and that the whole
nation perish not."
inspired writer was quick to add that in so speaking,
Caiaphas was speaking far beyond his own understanding.
Any Jewish readers or those familiar with the Old
Testament will recall a similar case in Balaam, the
mercenary prophet who came to curse Israel, but blessed
remarkable prophecy of Caiaphas actually embodies the
gospel story. It begins with the very unflattering
awareness of our
"Ye know nothing at
all." They were words spoken with scorn and
disdain by a leader to his followers, yet words that
were true on a completely different level than even the
speaker realized. The truth is that even he knew
nothing at all. The actual fact is that none of us
would imagine salvation in Godís way. One of the
many tragic effects of sin is a blindness of God and
truth (Rom. 3:10-18; 2 Cor. 4:3, 4). When Adam
sinned, he little expected God to be the provider of a
way of salvation. His natural instinct was to hide.
Each son and daughter of Adam has been reenacting
Edenís scene, hiding from God. The Bible teaches
that God desires to save man from the consequences of
his sin. Only a revelation from God could communicate
this to us.
words were strong: "It is expedient that one man
die for the people." Unknown to himself he was
giving utterance to the truth that if men were going to
be saved, it was imperative that heaven intervene.
The grand news of the gospel is that heaven has
intervened. Far eclipsing Apollo IIís "one
giant step for mankind" was the immeasurable
distance traveled when Christ left the throne eternal
for planet earth and a rude tree outside Jerusalemís
walls. Greater still was the distance traveled
when He plumbed the depths of the wrath of God against
sin upon Calvary.
sin, yours and mine, made it expedient that one should
die. Divine love made it expedient that He be the
The Vicarious Nature
"It is expedient
that one man should die for the people that the whole
nation perish not." The amazing truth of the gospel
message as preached by the early apostles is that one
Man has died for others that they might be saved from
perishing. The gospel tells of a Savior Who has
willingly gone into death to endure the punishment that
we rightly deserved for our sins. He has died in
the sinnerís place, enabling God to forgive the
repentant believer in His Son.
the testimony of Peter to conclude this brief article:
"Who His own self bare our sins, in His own body,
on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24).