Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and as he walked out of the tomb in front of many people the crowd appears to fall into to camps: some believe, some don’t. It’s hard to imagine anything in between. I don’t think our present level of cynicism was common in that age, but it seems plausible that some thought it was all a show.
For some this was divine, for others this was a threat. Caiaphas speaks for the Sanhedrin,
…it is better for you that one man die for the people
than that the whole nation perish.
These prophetic words are not meant to suggest that Jesus will be the propitiation for our sins; rather, Caiaphas concludes Jesus must be eliminated in order to preserve the Jewish State, their Temple and their system. He speaks for the leaders and solidly sets in motion the events that will soon follow. The Jewish counsel will figure out how to kill this one man (though they will defer to the Romans for the dirty work) in an effort to save their system. To wrestle with this level of offense, the Sanhedrin would have included 71 Jewish leaders. Keeping the discussion secret seems impossible!
This is a great turning point in the earthly ministry of Jesus. Apparently the words of Caiaphas became known so Jesus and his disciples relocated about 15 miles away to Ephraim until the final march into Jerusalem.
So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
The great happiness of the crowd is squelched by the leaders actions. Yet this will ultimately work against them. When the people are confronted with the risen Jesus and hear the proclamation of the Apostles, I’m sure there will be some who remember the actions of the counsel and recognize how they have been greatly misled, even deceived, and propel into existence the birth of Christ’s church–Christianity.
As we have observed in this life, great tragedy provides a great opportunity for triumph. True character is revealed in the wake of horrible events. May God guide us in the path of righteousness as we grow in faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ.