Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot mystery The Clocks features antagonists who commit a series of murders. Although their initial plot targeted a single victim, they began taking more lives in order to cover up the original crime. When confronted by Poirot, a conspirator confessed, “It was only supposed to be the one murder.”
Like the schemers in the story, the religious authorities formed a conspiracy of their own. After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38–44), they called an emergency meeting and plotted to kill Him (vv. 45–53). But they didn’t stop there. After Jesus rose from the dead, the religious leaders spread lies about what happened at the grave (Matthew 28:12–15). Then they began a campaign to silence Jesus’s followers (Acts 7:57–8:3). What started as a religious plot against one man for the “greater good” of the nation became a web of lies, deceit, and multiple casualties.
Sin plunges us down a road that often has no end in sight, but God always provides a way of escape. When Caiaphas the high priest said, “It is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish” (John 11:50), he didn’t understand the profound truth of his words. The conspiracy of the religious leaders would help bring about the redemption of mankind.
Jesus saves us from sin’s vicious grip. Have you received the freedom He offers?
What road are you going down that could take you further away from God? He offers real freedom. What do you need to confess to Him today?
To halt Jesus’s increasing popularity, a meeting of the Sanhedrin was convened by “the chief priests and the Pharisees” (John 11:47). The Sanhedrin, modeled after Moses and the seventy elders (Exodus 24:1), consisted of seventy men plus the high priest. It functioned as the highest Jewish governing council and supreme court. The chief priests (mostly Sadducees, a political-religious party) comprised the nation’s priesthood and included the high priest. The Pharisees, mostly scribes, were scrupulous keepers of the Law, particularly the ceremonial purity laws.
The chief priests dominated the Sanhedrin and were political and religious opponents to the Pharisees (Acts 5:17). But the Pharisees were a powerful minority. Nicodemus (John 3) and Joseph of Arimathea (Mark 15:43) were Pharisees. They were key members of the Sanhedrin and disciples of Jesus. They prepared His body for burial and placed Him in the tomb (John 19:38–42).