In the Gospel reading, the Sanhedrin plots to put Jesus to death. It is the moment that sealed the fate of Jesus and sent him to the cross.
Caiaphas, the High priest felt threatened after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Many more people were following Jesus as he continued to perform signs, to heal, to do good and capture the hearts of the people. Jesus had been teaching the people what it means to be the Covenant People of God by living among them and showing them compassion and mercy.
Caiaphas on the other hand was worried that if the Romans saw Jesus as a threat, they would take away their land and nation. Caiaphas was worried about his own standing, power and influence. He wanted Jesus out of the way and said: “It is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish." Caiaphas was wrong in his estimation. The Romans would destroy Jerusalem in the year seventy. He sacrificed and innocent man to maintain a bad alliance.
But the death of Jesus would be a sacrifice that brought salvation to all, Jew and gentile alike. The pure sacrifice of Jesus wasn’t his bloody and painful death as a result of the plotting of Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin. No, it was the sacrifice he made surrendering his will to the Father out of love: love for the Father and love for you and me.
While the Sanhedrin was plotting, Jesus went off to commune with his Father and to strengthen and prepare himself in his ultimate battle with evil. Tomorrow we celebrate Palm Sunday as we enter Holy week. Liturgically and spiritually we will accompany the Lord in trials, his Passion and Resurrection and ultimately celebrate the joy he won for us on the cross.
Fr. Patrick Daugherty, C.P.