When Man's Motives Meet God's Plan
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. — John 11:49-53
So (Joseph) Caiaphas was the High Priest who served from 18-36 A.D. As the highest religious executive at the time, he worked in a close relationship with the Roman official Pontius Pilate. John clarifies that in the same year, Caiaphas received a prophecy from God, which tells us that this prophecy was public knowledge. So Caiaphas seizes the moment in this meeting of the Sanhedrin to make the connection between his prophecy and the man Jesus.
But here is what is interesting about this moment.
Caiaphas's plan and God's plan are perfectly aligned. He is right to say, "It is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish." His prophecy and statement are spot on. But Caiaphas's motivation and end goal are not aligned with God's motivation and end goal.
And this is the amazing sovereignty of God at work. God can work through the choices and actions of both righteous and unrighteous men to accomplish his purposes. Most of the time don't always see this happening. So we get confused or get frustrated because of this. We look out and see sinful men who appear to be getting ahead and doing just fine, while God-fearing men are victims of their deception and evil.
But God and his plan will never be thwarted. God can redeem and reorient selfish motives as they are being formed and instantly use them to bring glory to his name. Mankind cannot outwit and outplan God. And if you have lived long enough with God, you know this is true.
So if you are confused and frustrated with all that happening in your life or maybe in the world today — why? Do you not think God's got this thing? Really? Do you think there's a person, or a leader, or a friend who can outwit and outplan our God? So stop worrying about that and trust that God's got this thing. And then, examine your motivations and get them aligned with God's motivations at all costs. Make sure your personal interests, ambitions, and considerations never attempt to overshadow and outmaneuver God. Because God's plan is going to work out, and you are either motivationally onboard or you need to get out of the way because, in a battle of wills, God is going to win every single time.
1. Reflecting on the passage, discuss the concept of divine sovereignty and how it is demonstrated in the interaction between Caiaphas and God's plan. How does this understanding of God's sovereignty impact your trust and faith in His ability to work through even the flawed actions and intentions of individuals?
2. Consider the contrast between Caiaphas's motivations and God's ultimate goals. How does this serve as a reminder for us to examine our own motives and ensure they align with God's purposes? Share a personal experience or example where you had to realign your motivations with God's will and the resulting impact on your life and relationship with Him.
DO THIS: Get your motives aligned with God's.
PRAY THIS: God, I am seeking your guidance and surrendering my motives to align with your perfect will. Give me the wisdom to discern your plans and the strength to faithfully walk in them, knowing that your sovereignty prevails in every aspect of my life. Amen.
PLAY THIS: Psalm 8 (How Majestic Is Your Name).
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