Session of the Sanhedrin
George W. Truett (quoted in Toolkit, Cell Church, Winter, 1996, p.10) said: “To know the will of God is the greatest knowledge! To do the will of God is the greatest achievement!”
Today’s gospel passage Jesus’ enemies are determined to kill Him. Their basis for doing is the word of the Chief Priest, Caiaphas, that in order to save the people from the occupation of Jerusalem by the Roman armies as well as to stop the people from believing in Him, it is better for Him to die (vv.46-48, 50). His popularity might result also in an armed revolt against Rome and this means bloodshed. And so by Jesus’ death the people would be saved. Caiaphas says: “It is better for you that one man should die instead of the people so that the whole nation may not perish,” (v.50). Caiaphas is like the one at the French Revolution who said: “Which is the more important: the nation or the king?” His approach also is a very unpleasant version of the “end-justifies-the-means” approach to moral reflection. But all of us know that the death of Jesus did not prevent the Roman armies from coming and destroying the city and its Temple.
You know it is a Jewish belief that when the high priest asks for God’s counsel for the nation, God speaks through him. What a dramatic irony that Caiaphas prophesies that Jesus must die for the people and nation. It is because the prophet Ezekiel in the Old Testament announced that God would establish one people, one land, one prince and one sanctuary forever. St. Luke adds also in his gospel to Caiaphas’ prophecy that Jesus would gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. And yes, Jesus comes to lay down His life for the many and saves us in order to fulfil His Father’s will and mission. And He does not allow fear or opposition to hold Him back from doing God’s will. As for us do we allow fear or opposition to hold us back from doing God’s will?
An unknown author says that God’s will for us is:
Sanctification is God’s will for us that is, avoiding sexual immorality and impurity is God’s will for us (1Thess 4:1-8); Wise living is God’s will for us )Eph 5:15-21); Non-conformation, transformation, and renewal are God’s will for us (Rom 12:1-2); Continual rejoicing, ceaseless prayer, and constant thanksgiving are God’s will for us (1Thess 5:16-18).
Security is God’s will for us John 6:38-40).
Service is God’s will for us (Eph 6:5-9; 1Pet 5:2)
Suffering is God’s will for us (1Pet 3:17; 1Pet 4:19)
And living a Christian life is living as Christ does. It is acting always in love for our brothers and sisters and being concerned for their physical and spiritual well-being as Christ is because this is the will of God. Is our life like this? We are doing this not merely for the earthly good and benefit but by all means for the spiritual life and the blessings of the kingdom of heaven and above all, doing God’s will. We must strive to strengthen our faith and theirs, to keep living like branches that bear fruit.
At the end let us listen and reflect this prayer of Bobby Richardson, a former New York Yankee second baseman, at a meeting of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. This prayer is classic in brevity and poignancy: “Dear God, Your will, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. Amen.”