Collusion and Corruption and God's Plan
So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people. — John 18:12-14
So, this is the arrest and hearing of Jesus. And this history can be confusing unless you understand the collusion and corruption between the Jewish authorities and the Roman government. So here is what we know.
Annas served as the high priest from 6 to 15 AD. Think of Annas as the "Godfather." He was appointed to his position by the Roman governor, Quirinius. The next governor, Valerius Gratus, then removed Annas. Valerius appointed Caiaphas, who was the son-in-law of Annas. Despite being removed, Annas remained highly influential in the office of the high priest. Five of Annas's sons and his son-in-law Caiaphas took turns holding the office of high priest at different times, mainly because his policies were aligned with Rome's. He was a bit of a "Godfather" during his time.
But here's the rub. Rome had no authority to appoint and remove high priests. This was contrary to what was prescribed by the Mosaic law. High priests were to be appointed by a divine process and served in the role for a lifetime. However, the Roman government took control of this to control the people and then selected men who would do their bidding. We learn from history that Annas was aligned with Rome; therefore, he and his family maintained their power and prosperity.
Many Jews were unhappy with all the religious-government collusion. It led to all kinds of private power agreements and payouts. And if you turn on the news, you will see the same collusion play out today.
So why is this important?
Well, if you read that last line of the text and the proclamation made by Caiaphas, you will see something incredible. But to see it, we have to go back to John 11:49-53
But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.
What we learn is that nothing is going to stop God's plan and purpose. God's plan and purpose are so incredible that there will be times when sinful men will think they are working their plan and purpose when really they are really working God's. No level of corruption and collusion will stop God from fulfilling his plan and purpose. And even though sinful men do it from corrupt motivation, they will do the very thing God wants them to do. And then, God will use that event to reveal his plan, purposes, and divine motivation.
And this is precisely what is going to happen here. Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate, the Roman government, and Jewish religious authorities think they are in control. They believe they are stopping Jesus by asserting their power, purpose, and plan. But they are not. Despite the sinful motivations instigating it, they do precisely what God wants them to do. The one really in control is the one in chains — Jesus. But they don't know that yet. But soon, they will see that all this plays into the plans of God, with a somewhat surprising resurrection at the end.
Give praise to God's plan today. Not only God's plan in this story but God's plan in your life. Know that no sinful man will ever thwart the plans of our God. Even when it looks like the enemy's power, purpose, and plan are too great, God's purpose and plan will always prevail.
How does understanding the collusion and corruption between the Jewish authorities and the Roman government in the arrest of Jesus deepen your appreciation for God's sovereignty in the midst of human schemes and plans?
In what ways can we apply the lesson from this passage to our own lives, especially when we encounter challenging situations where it seems like external forces are against us? How can we trust in God's plan and purpose in such moments?
DO THIS: Trust God's plan.
PRAY THIS: Lord, as I reflect on the story of Jesus' arrest and the hidden workings of Your divine plan, I pray for the wisdom and faith to trust that, even in challenging circumstances, Your purpose will always prevail, and I find strength in Your sovereignty.
PLAY THIS: Your Plans For Us.
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