Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death. Therefore Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews but went from there into the country near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim, and there remained with His disciples. And the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went from the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves. Then they sought Jesus, and spoke among themselves as they stood in the temple, “What do you think—that He will not come to the feast?” Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a command, that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it, that they might seize Him. (John 11:53-57)
God’s Will Is According To His Will
The ministry of Jesus began with great expectation and popularity but began to fade quickly as the man from Nazareth challenged the foundations of the Jewish leadership. While His miracles would draw many disciples to His message, there were many who could not bear with the implications of the plain and powerful teaching of righteousness given by Jesus. He became trouble for the Jewish elite who feared their place among the Romans. They could never deny His miracles and never sought to discount any miracle Jesus did but they constantly challenged His claim to be divine. Blinded by their hypocrisy, the chief priests and Pharisees would easily ignore the incredible resurrection of Lazarus from the dead and plot to kill Jesus instead. All of the people that were healed of their diseases could testify to the power of the Nazarene. Many of the ones who condemned Jesus stood in His presence when He did the unimaginable and healed lepers, made withered hands whole, raise from near death a man bedridden and cast out demons. This had no impact on the hardened hearts of the envious who despised Jesus. Because of their self-righteousness to see Jesus as only a carpenter’s son, they could never see Him for who He truly was – the Son of God. When the popularity of Jesus began to challenge their authority, the Jewish leaders tried to stop him. After a debate with Jesus at the Temple where Jesus declared He had been before Abraham, the Jews took up stones to throw at Him but He was hidden from them and left the Temple. Later, after healing the man born blind, the people again took up stones to kill him. When many in Jerusalem began to question whether Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Pharisees sent officers to arrest Him. The officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees empty-handed declaring they had never heard a man speak like Jesus. There were many plans to kill Jesus but to no avail. The people knew there was a desire to kill Jesus and the Lord Himself reminded the people of those who sought His life. Yet, they could not find the man from Nazareth to carry out their murderous deed. After Lazarus was raised from the dead, the search for Jesus intensified.
Jesus knew that in the fullness of His Father’s will, His death would come about. While the plans of men sought to stone Jesus, arrest Him and to kill Him were thwarted on every hand, the will of the Father was being carried out to its divine end. One of the things the rulers of the Jews failed to realize is that every time they tried to arrest Jesus, He evaded them. Early in the ministry of Jesus, he returned to His home in Nazareth and as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. After reading from Isaiah, Jesus declared the prophet spoke of Him. This infuriated the people. They mobbed Jesus and forced him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built where they intended to push him over the cliff. To their surprise, He passed through the crowd and went on his way. Jesus lived a controlled life. The will of the Father would permit the death of His Son when it was time for His Son to die – and not before. Jesus would tell His disciples His hour had not come and all of the murderous plans of the Jews would not change that. Near the end of His ministry, Jesus decided to conceal Himself more from the Jews as He no longer walked openly among them. He did not disappear totally from them as He came to Bethany and Jerusalem but His days of public ministry had ended. It would shortly come to pass the divine plan of the Father to die but not before it was the will of God.
The plotters and enemies of Jesus could never succeed when they wanted. It would require a great deal of hindsight to look back and see how the will of the Father was accomplished in the life of Jesus. Judas instructed his cohorts that when he came to the garden and kissed a certain man, that He was the individual they were to seize. Did Judas think about the times the people tried to seize Jesus and could not? As an apostle of Christ, he would have been aware of the attempts on Jesus’ life and the many times the people tried to attack Jesus and were hindered. To believe that any man could seize Jesus would seem impossible. One of the most amazing passages in scripture is when the Holy Spirit says the people laid hold of Jesus and led Him away. That would not have happened if it were not the will of God. Clapping irons on Jesus and dragging Him away as a common criminal only happened because God said it could. The arrest of Jesus in the garden was not a gentle affair. A mob came after Jesus with clubs, swords, weapons, and the chief priests, elders of the people, and a detachment of soldiers. Pilate would chide Jesus that he had the power to crucify Him or release Him. Jesus replied that he would have no power unless it was given to him from above. All that was done to Jesus was in keeping with the divine will of the Father. The life of Jesus is the testimony of the scheme of God’s redemption for humanity to be fulfilled in the life and death of His Son. Throughout the ages of time, the Father’s will is accomplished in keeping with His plan. Man cannot change that.