[Nov 19]--Surprising Sources of Truth, Part Two

John 11:45-57

 We’ve discussed this concept before, but I wanted to take a close look at this passage, since it reveals so much about how God works in the world.

Remember the story of Balaam as he prophesied?  God sometimes reveals his truth in ways you don’t expect. He primarily speaks to us through his word, through the Holy Spirit, and through other believers. But there are times in which he speaks to humanity in ways he doesn’t usually utilize. Let’s look at bit closer at what’s happening in today's passage and see what we can learn from it.

The Jewish Sanhedrin (the religious leadership) met to discuss what to do about Jesus. They obviously wanted to get rid of him for a host of reasons, but they were reluctant to arrest him publicly because they were afraid of rioting. They recognized the frightening possibility that if they didn’t handle Jesus, then Rome would step in and destroy their nation. Rome didn’t really care all that much about your religious beliefs or how you worshiped. But they had a serious zero-tolerance policy when it came to inciting sedition. Anyone going around calling himself the King of the Jews would--sooner or later--gain Rome’s attention, and not in a good way.

Then steps in Caiaphas, the high priest. Was he a follower of Jesus? Of course not. I sincerely doubt that he was an open and honest seeker of the truth, like Nicodemus. But he prophesied. The Holy Spirit spoke through him just as much as through Paul writing the book of Romans. Through Caiaphas, the Spirit revealed that the Messiah would die for the entire nation, in fact the entire world.

Now, what was on Caiaphas’s mind when he was saying this? Did he mean that Jesus was going to die for the sins of the entire world? No. When he said this, the only thing he was thinking about was the political expediency of executing Jesus in order to keep Rome off their backs. In his mind, when he said that Jesus was going to die “for the people,” he was only thinking about being saved from the wrath of Rome. But behind his words lay deeper and greater truth, namely that Jesus was going to die in the place of Israel (and the world) in order to save us from the wrath of the Almighty.

So what’s my point here? God can use even nonbelievers, even people opposed to his cause, in order to reveal his truth. Let’s take for example person X, who happens to be a movie producer in Hollywood. He’s not a Christian; in fact, you’d never catch him dead in a church. But he has an idea for a movie about redemptive love, and he gets it made. And God can use that to draw people towards himself, or at least prepare them for the Good News of Christ. I personally think that this is precisely happened in regards to Forrest Gump, my favorite movie of all time. Maybe someday I’ll go into more detail as to why it’s my favorite and why it’s so illustrative of God’s love for us.

So keep on the lookout for God’s truth which he’s scattered all over this world. You never know: You might find his truth in the most unlikely of places, whether on the lips of a murderous high priest or hidden in the midst of our popular culture.

Father, you’re reaching out to this fallen world, and your ways of doing so are pretty unexpected at times. How can I help?

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