"It Is Expedient!" John 11:47-52

March 13, 2022
Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

Simeon told the Virgin Mary, “Luk 2:35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." Our Lord's passion reveals the many hearts. Our Lenten Series focuses on their thoughts given voice through their words. Sermon Text: John 11:47-52. Sermon Theme: "Caiaphas: It is Expedient..!" Preached for Midweek Lenten Vespers 1, 9-March-2022 by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert.

Episode Notes

Midweek Lenten Vespers 1                    9-March-22
Theme: “Christ’s Passion: Revealing the Thoughts Of Many Hearts!”
Sermon Text: John 11:47-52
Sermon Theme: “Caiaphas: It is Expedient...!” by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

I.N.R.I. Luk 2:34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against.” Holding the 40 day old baby Jesus in his arms Simeon rejoiced to see the Lord’s Salvation. Now this just and devout Jerusalem man who had waited to see the Consolation of Israel could die in peace. God the Holy Spirit’s promise that he would not die before seeing the Lord’s Christ had been fulfilled. God’s Word is true the Light of Life is born of the Virgin Mary. Salvation for Jew and Gentile is found only in the flesh and blood of Jesus.
    The Child Jesus sets the stage for Satan’s defeat on Calvary. He is destined to lay low those who imagine they are good enough to be welcomed into God’s Kingdom. He is destined to raise up poor miserable sinners speaking them forgiven - restoring to them salvation’s joy by His cross and Spirit. Welcoming sinners into God’s Kingdom of grace through forgiving sins and raising them up to a new life free from sin’s chains.
    Simeon continues telling the Virgin Mary, “Luk 2:35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
33 years later Mary’s motherly heart would be pierced as she witnessed the Roman spear driven deeply into her lifeless first born Son’s side hanging on the cross. He wasn’t allowed rest or dignity even in death - His body was desecrated by the Roman spear bursting His heart.
    Christ’s passion exposes our hearts. Some are offended at a crucifix and piously claim that a naked cross is more edifying. Others view the cross as a meaningless piece of jewelry to accent their outfit. Christ’s suffering and death truly exposes our thinking and the idols our sinful self seeks to substitute for a suffering Savior.
    Just and devote Simeon in the Temple found peace that the Lord was in His Temple in the infant Jesus. The chief priest of the Temple was certain that he could find no peace while Jesus lived. Tonight we view the heart of Caiaphas - “It is Expedient....”
      The final Passover was drawing near. For three years the chief priests and Pharisees had been troubled by the Teacher from Nazareth - Jesus. His preaching and miracles threatened their rule and power over the people. Now two miles outside of Jerusalem - Jesus called a dead man back to life. Lazarus, His friend had died, and lay decaying in the tomb for four days. Jesus returns from preaching elsewhere and with a word - brings the dead to life. It is a miracle that they cannot ignore - or can they? (Vs.47) News is spreading like wildfire. The truth cannot be denied, but it can be suppressed.
        Immediately the chief priests and the Pharisees gather a council. It is time for action. What shall they do to get rid of this Troubler of Israel? This “Man” they disdainfully call Him, although His works testify that He is the Son of God - the promised Christ. In their view Jesus is only a Man - a charlatan - with many tricks up His sleeves.
        What is at the root of their hatred of Jesus? (Vs.48) They fear losing influence. Jesus is getting more “likes.” When the disciples of John the Baptist worried that more people were following Jesus than him - remember what John told them? Joh 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.” The Jewish council fears decreasing in importance. If they let Jesus alone preaching and working miracles - everyone will believe in Him. They want people to fear, love, and trust in them above all things - not in Jesus. Listen closely and you can hear Satan whispering in their ears the lie - Mat 4:9 ...., "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me." They believe the lie and do Satan’s work of scattering people away from Jesus and His Word preached.
          The Jewish Council fears losing their place, their Temple, their Jerusalem, their nation. They are certain that it all belongs to them and Jesus poses a threat that will stir up the Romans to take all of it away from them. Jesus posed no threat to Roman rule and taxation. When they tried to paint Jesus an enemy of the state He preached, “Mat 22:21"Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."
Satan’s lie that Christianity is an enemy of peace and the state is repeated down through every generation. From Marxists, National Socialists, Communists, Progressives, and those now following the religion of “wokeism” - the lie seeks to silence Christ and His Church. They fear losing their control over the people’s conscience and thinking.
            Beware of falling for Satan’s lie that you can hear too much of Jesus’ preaching or witness too many of His saving sacraments within His Church. Beware of thinking that it is “your Church” that you must save by your shrewd planning. It is “Christ’s Church.” He gifts it to us for a time here in Tell City, but if we reject Him and refuse to listen to His Word - He will take it away. The Gospel is like a rain shower, it doesn’t stay forever in one area - but moves on according to our Heavenly Father’s good and gracious will.

    Caiaphas, the high priest, has the solution to their problem. (Vs.49-50) Cut-throat politics are nothing new - they have existed in this world since Cain slaughtered his brother Abel. Caiaphas is a politician more than a caretaker of souls. Expediency is a political tool to achieve a desired outcome even if the action is immoral. It is allowing the “ends” to justify the “means.” It is expedient to bankrupt the middle class if that will ensure that they are totally dependent upon you and it keeps you in power. Expediency rests on the graves of 60 million unborn babies murdered through abortion. It boasts of more than 100 million people slaughtered by communism in Russia, China, and North Korea. It boasts of 6 million Jews exterminated by National Socialism and scientists trying to perfect a master race in Germany.
    Caiaphas is high priest that year - contrary to God’s ceremonial law which appointed the high priest for life - now the position was bartered and sold to the highest bidder who yearned for political power. His solution is simple - sacrifice Jesus. The problem will be eliminated. Their Temple, their city, their nation will be saved from the Romans. Why not send an innocent Man to die on the cross if saves the entire nation?
    Guard your heart against expediency - sacrificing others for your own selfish gains. Repent and lay your sin of lusting for power and pride upon Jesus. (Vs.51-52) Caiaphas did not know what he was saying - the Lord spoke through him as High Priest. In the Old Testament the prophet Balaam could’ve been a rich man, if only he had cursed the children of Israel as the King of Moab had commanded. Balaam could only speak the word the Lord placed upon his lips. Every time he opened his mouth he blessed Israel. Caiaphas’ word is God the Holy Spirit testifying through his office.
      Jesus, the Second Adam, the One Man conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary - without sin - innocent. He will become the Scapegoat for the sins of all human history. The High Priest on the Day of Atonement would lay his hands upon the sacrifice, placing the sins of the people on its innocent head. The innocent would become the guilty to pay the price of the rebellious people. Caiaphas, in his office as high priest, now designates God’s Sacrifice - just as John the Baptist after baptizing our sins upon Jesus - declared - “Joh 1:29 "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
      Jesus is the One to die for not only the sins of the nation of Israel, but for all nations and peoples breaking of God’s Ten Commandments in thought, word, and deed. Stop trying to deal with your sins - they no longer belong to you - they have been laid upon Jesus. Turn from them and live. St. Paul, a converted Pharisee, begs you - “2Co 5:20-21 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. (21) For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Christ Jesus being raised up on the cross - has gathered you and me - and God’s Children from every nation into His Church.
      Now like Simeon, every Sunday, our eyes behold our salvation - we can die in peace for Jesus’ living body and blood is place upon our lips in bread and wine - and we sing forth, ‘Luk 2:29-32 "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; (30) For my eyes have seen Your salvation (31) Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, (32) A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel." Amen.

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