“One Man Should Die” – Oh, the Irony

“One of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all! You’re not considering that it is to your advantage that one man should die for the people rather than the whole nation perish.”He did not say this on his own, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to unite the scattered children of God.” (John 11:48–52 HCSB)

One of the characteristics of John’s gospel is that he uses irony again and again.  What is irony, you don’t ask?  Craig Koester explains: ” Irony is when, on one level, something appears to be true; yet on another level, the opposite is true. The heart of irony, for John, is the contrast between appearance and reality.”

For example, in John 9, the blind guy can see the truth clearly, and the guys who can see are totally blind.  This is irony.

When we get to the end of John 11, we find irony in action again.  Caiaphas, esteemed chief-priest-of-the-year, steps in to quell the indecision and worry about this guy, Jesus, who has just raised a stinking-dead-guy (literally) from the grave.  “Don’t worry your pretty little empty heads,” counsels Caiaphas, “much better to have one guy die [you know what I’m talking about?  hint, hint, hint] then that a whole nation be destroyed.”

Even I, former-Marine-with-little-intelligence, can understand what Mr. Caiaphas is planning.  Jesus dies, the nation survives.

John points out the irony here: One man was going to die on behalf of the nation, and that man was Jesus.  Thank you for your prescient prophecy, Mr. Caiaphas.

Caiaphas wanted Jesus dead so that the Jews could preserve their independence…ish, from the Romans, God wanted Jesus to die to save Caiaphas [and you…and me] eternally.  Unfortunately, Caiaphas is spiritually deaf to his own prophesy.

Quite ironic, don’t you think?

 

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