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Cover Art: The Plot to Kill Jesus

The Plot to Kill Jesus

John 11:47-57

47 Then the leading priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the high council. They said, “What should we do? This man is doing many miraculous signs. 48 If we let him continue doing these things, everyone will believe in him. Then the Romans will come and take away our Temple and our nation.”
49 One of the men there was Caiaphas. He was the high priest that year. He said, “You people know nothing! 50 It is better for one man to die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed. But you don’t realize this.”

51 Caiaphas did not think of this himself. As that year’s high priest, he was really prophesying that Jesus would die for the Jewish people. 52 Yes, he would die for the Jewish people. But he would also die for God’s other children scattered all over the world. He would die to bring them all together and make them one people.
53 That day the Jewish leaders began planning to kill Jesus. 54 So Jesus stopped traveling around openly among the Jews. He went away to a town called Ephraim in an area near the desert. He stayed there with his followers.
55 It was almost time for the Jewish Passover festival. Many people from the country went to Jerusalem before the Passover. They went to do the special things to make themselves pure for the festival. 56 The people looked for Jesus. They stood in the Temple area and asked each other, “Is he coming to the festival? What do you think?” 57 But the leading priests and the Pharisees had given a special order about Jesus. They said that anyone who knew where he was must tell them so that they could arrest him.

Kids Color Me Bible Gospel of John – Chapter 54 – The Plot to Kill Jesus
Why did religious leaders want to kill Jesus?
Kids Color Me Bible Gospel of John – Chapter 54 – The Plot to Kill Jesus

“They did not believe he was Messiah. They were jealous because he was perfect and they were not.” Valentina, 10

“Because Jesus said that he was the Son of God and although some believed him, others didn’t. The chief priests and Pharisees thought that if Jesus wasn’t killed, then the people would believe him and the Romans would take away the land and the nation from the Jewish people.” Ana, 10

“The Romans had a king that everyone had to worship, but when Jesus preached, people turned away from the cruel, controlling king, and that was unacceptable.” Abigail, 11

“They thought that because Jesus was preaching and performing many miracles that Jesus would easily turn against them.” Katia, 12

“They wanted to kill Jesus because he was performing many signs. So they were awfully afraid that everyone would believe in him. The Romans, who would come if the people believed in him, would rightfully take away their temple and nation.” Arianna, 12

Kids Color Me Bible Gospel of John – Chapter 54 – The Plot to Kill Jesus
Kids Color Me Bible Gospel of John – Chapter 54 – The Plot to Kill Jesus
Kids Color Me Bible Gospel of John – Chapter 54 – The Plot to Kill Jesus

47 Then the leading priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the high council. They said, “What should we do? This man is doing many miraculous signs. 48 If we let him continue doing these things, everyone will believe in him. Then the Romans will come and take away our Temple and our nation.”

This was a meeting of the religious leaders in Jerusalem. Even though the Romans ruled over them, these Jewish leaders had a lot of authority over the lives of the Jewish people.

In this meeting, we see them in a panic. Instead of asking themselves if Jesus is the promised messiah that the Old Testament prophets predicted, they are concerned only about themselves.

If they continue to let Jesus perform miracles, the leaders said “everyone will believe in him.” They also said, “The Romans will come and take away our Temple and our nation.” The word “Temple” should be translated “place.” The translators of the ERV thought that the temple was the place to which Jewish leaders referred. It might also refer to the leaders’ place of power in Jewish society.

As long as the Jews paid their taxes, the Romans didn’t care what the Jews did in their religious lives. Most Jews living in Palestine during the first century viewed the messiah as a conquering hero who would lead them to victory over their Roman rulers. Jewish leaders feared that Jesus would lead a rebellion against Rome that would result in the destruction of the temple and Jewish nation. They did not know that the destruction of their temple and nation would come within a generation in a way they could not imagine.

When Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,” he spoke about his own body as God’s temple, not the Jerusalem temple (John 2:19 NKJV). He rose from the dead in three days.

In addition to predicting his own resurrection, Jesus foretold the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus said it would happen within a generation (Matthew 24). Many Bible scholars believe Jesus died in AD 30. Roman General Titus conquered Jerusalem forty years later in AD 70. Exactly as Jesus predicted, the temple was destroyed within a generation (40 years) during the Jewish great tribulation.

The Jewish nation ceased to exist. No more animal sacrifices in the temple. The church age where God would call people from all nations to become a holy nation became fully separated from the Jewish age of religious shadows (I Peter 2:9 & Hebrews 9:12). At first, the Romans considered Christianity a part of Judaism (the religion of the Jews), but no more. The reality to which the religious symbols (animal sacrifices in the temple) pointed had now come in the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

49 One of the men there was Caiaphas. He was the high priest that year. He said, “You people know nothing! 50 It is better for one man to die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed. But you don’t realize this.” 51 Caiaphas did not think of this himself. As that year’s high priest, he was really prophesying that Jesus would die for the Jewish people. 52 Yes, he would die for the Jewish people. But he would also die for God’s other children scattered all over the world. He would die to bring them all together and make them one people.

In November of 1990, a workman doing some roadwork in Jerusalem uncovered the top of a burial cave with his bulldozer. The cave contained 12 bone boxes, which are called ossuaries. One of those boxes had this writing on it: “Joseph, son of Caiaphas.”

Joseph was another name of the Jewish high priest known as Caiaphas. You can see a photo of this bone box in the Wikipedia article online. Caiaphas ruled as high priest in Jerusalem from A.D. 18 to 36. Inside this bone box were the bones of a man about 60 years old.

Isn’t this amazing that we now have the bone box of the high priest who planned the death of Jesus. However, we do not have the bones of Jesus because God raised him from the dead.

What is even more amazing is that Caiaphas spoke a prophecy about Jesus, but he didn’t know it. Speaking of Jesus, Caiaphas said, “It is better for one man to die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.”

When Caiaphas spoke these words, he was thinking selfishly and politically. He wanted to kill Jesus because he thought people might follow him. The entire Jewish nation might perish if Jesus led a revolt against the Romans, who ruled over the Jewish nation. In the past, some Jews had tried to rebel against Roman rule. It always ended badly for the Jews. Many Jews thought that the messiah would be a political revolutionary.

On another level, God intended the words of the high priest to refer to the sacrifice Jesus would make on the cross to pay for the sins of the Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews). Caiaphas didn’t know he was playing on such a large stage. He was ignorant of how his words applied to God’s purpose for all people.

The bone box of Caiaphas contained one item that might cause you to wonder if he later learned the larger meaning of his words. The bone box contained a nail! Did Caiaphas later learn the meaning of Jesus’ death on the cross and the nails that held him there?

53 That day the Jewish leaders began planning to kill Jesus. 54 So Jesus stopped traveling around openly among the Jews. He went away to a town called Ephraim in an area near the desert. He stayed there with his followers.
55 It was almost time for the Jewish Passover festival. Many people from the country went to Jerusalem before the Passover. They went to do the special things to make themselves pure for the festival. 56 The people looked for Jesus. They stood in the Temple area and asked each other, “Is he coming to the festival? What do you think?” 57 But the leading priests and the Pharisees had given a special order about Jesus. They said that anyone who knew where he was must tell them so that they could arrest him.

If you look at the Gospels as a game of hide-and-seek, Jesus always wins. He mastered the art of hiding from religious and political leaders until the day and hour of his crucifixion, but he revealed himself to seekers.

It started with Jesus’ parents fleeing Bethlehem just before King Herod commanded his troops to kill all the children two years and younger. King Herod did not want competition for his throne. He knew that the wise men from the East had come to give gifts to the King of the Jews (Matthew 2).

Sometimes Jesus revealed himself as Israel’s Messiah. At other times, he told those whom he healed not to tell anyone. Jesus traveled to Jerusalem in secret during a national festival and then taught openly in the temple. After he raised Lazarus from the dead, he headed for a small town in the desert called Ephraim.

Why all this zigzagging?

Timing is everything! Jesus had a mission. It needed time to develop. Jesus didn’t allow himself to be arrested until the time was right.

Draw something to go with this headline: Leaders Stumped: Where is Jesus?
Coloring Page: The Plot to Kill Jesus