“Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
– John [11:43]-44
Miraculously, Lazarus emerged from his death tomb, saved by Jesus. Many of those who witnessed this event turned to believing in the power of Jesus. But some did not and went back to Jerusalem to tell Caiaphas, the chief priest, and the other leaders what they had seen.
Immediately, Caiaphas and the other priests called a meeting of the Sanhedrin to discuss this latest feat performed by Jesus. The few who had gone to see the leaders were seeking favors from the leadership in Jerusalem. In turn, Caiaphas and the others were alarmed, seeing this as an event that could encourage the existing population to rise up against them.
During the meeting, they all agreed it was time to get rid of Jesus. For the past year, Jesus had been saving the blind, healing the lame, and speaking to huge crowds. Now Jesus had raised the dead! Because of this last event, Caiaphas and the other leaders now knew Jesus had become competition for the control of the masses.
Caiaphas was the chief priest, and head of the ruling Jewish body called the Sanhedrin. He was in the fifteenth year of his reign. His father-in-law, Annus, who had reigned for nine years, had appointed Caiaphas as his successor. Combined, they had held the chief priest position for almost a quarter of a century.
During his reign, Caiaphas solidified his power with the Jewish aristocrats and the Roman rulers. However, at the same time, he had made life for the average citizen very difficult. As Caiaphas grew in power, the people became poorer.
After deciding to get rid of Jesus, Jesus could no longer move about publicly. So instead, he went to Ephraim in Samaria. A place he would stay until his return to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
What amazes me is that instead of seeking Jesus out to find out more, instead, they chose to kill him. It would seem to me after such a powerful action of raising the dead, Caiaphas would want to learn more and perhaps see Jesus as who he was, the Lord.
So why didn’t Caiaphas and the others turn to Jesus and, at the very least, find out more? It seems they were stuck in their own narratives, and Jesus directly opposed the lives they were leading. Jesus was a change in the course of how Caiaphas thought.
Caiaphas had become so enamored with his life and power that there was no room for other viewpoints. Any different view, he squashed. Those around him had learned this and only told him want they thought he wanted to hear. Conversation amongst them had collapsed into making sure Caiaphas didn’t get angry.
Caiaphas and his group had lost the art of critical thinking. When differing points of view rose up, the individual would be shamed and discarded. Instead of hearing the person with a different opinion, their ideas were seen as extreme and threats. As a result, the person was usually ostracized.
Looking back at these events in the 21st century, we can clearly see the flaw. Jesus had saved a person from death, yet no one in power wanted to know more. We can all agree they lacked the skill of critical thinking.
Critical thinking in the dictionary is defined as: the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.
Simply, critical thinking allows events and statements to change our viewpoints and perhaps our behavior. A method of thinking that prevents our thoughts from getting stale and outdated.
What if Caiaphas had honestly sought out Jesus to learn more? We could assume he would have become a follower of Jesus as well. Instead, Caiaphas chose the path of denial and elimination.
By ignoring Jesus and seeking to destroy him, Caiaphas, in turn, lost everything.
A few months later, Caiaphas successfully had Jesus crucified on the cross. But the outcome for Caiaphas was bleak. When the Roman rulers learned about this event, Caiaphas was removed from power and forced to leave Jerusalem in 36AD.
Everything thing he had was gone. All because he denied the reality of Jesus.