Daily Word

Prophetic death knell | John 11:49-53

49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50 nor are you taking into account that it is in your best interest that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish instead.” 51 Now he did not say this on his own, but as he was high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation; 52 and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they planned together to kill Him.

John 11:49-53 (NASB)

The highest political and religious Jewish ruling authority has gathered to decide what to do with Jesus. He’s “out of control” in their minds. As we saw yesterday, they feared their survival. Caiaphas was the high priest so basically, the leader of Israel. Yet it was a holy position instituted by God in Aaron (and corrupted by man). Yet God still chose to work through him in his position to accomplish His good purposes.

Double meaning

What Caiaphas said had two meanings (and two fulfillments): one reflected his own (and the sanhedrin’s) thoughts and, the other, God’s. “This statement calling for Jesus’ death was a cold, calculating move of political expediency; at the same time, Caiaphas was unknowingly prophesying about God’s plan for Jesus’ death. Through the Sanhedrin’s wicked actions, God would save both the Jewish nation and anyone else who would believe in Christ (verses 51–52).” (gotquestions.org) Both came true in one event – Christ’s death. It was Jesus’s prophetic death knell.


Here is the essence of the gospel: a perfect One took my place to receive the wrath of God for my sin.  “In the mind of Caiaphas, the substitution was this: We kill Jesus so the Romans won’t kill us. We substitute Jesus for ourselves. In the mind of God, the substitution was this: I will kill my Son so I don’t have to kill you. God substitutes Jesus for his enemies.” (Desiring God

It is very difficult to accept and understand that God would kill His Son. Yet in the OT, Isaiah 53:4, God Himself speaks through Isaiah: “We esteemed him [Messiah] stricken, smitten by God.” Yes. Father God killed Jesus, His Son, the Lamb of God. He did it to fulfill His grand plan for the salvation of mankind and their restoration to Himself in perfect relationship. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

<- Reflection ->
  • Please allow this substitution topic to sink in and pull you toward God in faith. Check out John Piper’s powerful message on this passage.
  • If you have never understood this concept of substitution, full, complete, free payment for your sins, contact us or click here.
Church bell. Death knell. Image from unspalsh.com

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