45 ¶ Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. 46 But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. 47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. 48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. 49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. 53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death. 54 Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples. 55 And the Jews’ passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves. 56 Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast? 57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.
Some of the witnesses to this miracle believe but amazingly some rush to tell the leadership about this dangerous threat to the status quo. The Pharisees and the council are in a quandary. What are they going to do? They acknowledge that Jesus has actually performed many miracles. Their great fear is that the disruption Jesus causes will encourage the Romans to overrule their authority.
Human government’s main preoccupation is with preserving its authority. A politician in a Democracy has as his main impulse the drive to get re-elected. Power is the end goal of power. Here we have an admission that Christ is doing many miracles but rather than being drawn to Him, their paranoia and fear of losing control over the people takes precedence.
The Messiah performing miracles, supernatural acts of healing and raising people from the dead, cannot be tolerated. Eventually, Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, would understand this.
Mark 15:9 But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? 10 For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.
Envy is a dangerous thing.
Proverbs 27:4 Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?
The high priest, Caiphas, not knowing that he is working toward God’s own goal of the cross and the empty tomb, states that Jesus must die for the sake of the nation. However, there is no fear of God in Caiphas’ remark, though. Later Gamaliel, the great teacher of Paul (Acts 22:3), will say about some of the Apostles actions;
Acts 5:38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: 39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
Verse 51 states that this was an unintentional prophecy, that Jesus would die for the Jews and not only those over which the Sanhedrin controlled but also for those, “scattered abroad,” meaning the Jews around the world. Here is the phrase used in another context, the Great Tribulation to come, for the Jews not living in Israel.
James 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
The phrase, “scattered abroad,” is first used to refer to the descendants of Japheth, Ham, and Shem from Genesis 9 who are dispersed around the world at the Tower of Babel event in Genesis 11. After that it is predominantly used to refer to the Jews in Acts 8, 11, and in James. Notice the greeting in 1Peter 1:1 as well. In dispensational theory the Bible is written predominantly to the Jews, first to the people of God under the Law and then to the Jewish followers of Christ. By this theory the Bible is written in dispensational order so that only the books that start with the name, Paul, are written directly and doctrinally to Christians. Genesis, half of human history, is before the Law was presented although God’s standards were understood in many instances as you can see by pagan kings’ fear of God and Job’s understanding of right and wrong. Then, there is the Hebrew or Jewish people under the Law through the Gospels and then after the church age ends in a rebellious slave being sent home to his master in Philemon. After that, the letters are written to Jewish believers, scattered abroad. Matthew, Acts, and Hebrews are transitional books that show the unfolding of the Gospel to the Jews, early church history, and the transition from a predominantly Gentile church to again, a predominantly Jewish one at the end of history. Every verse in the Bible has an application to Christians but as far as our direct marching orders are concerned we must look to Paul’s letters to the churches.
Whatever theory of interpretation you prescribe to just be careful about instructions given to the Jews and do not confuse the Jews with the Church. Notice what Christ said to the Philadelphia church.
Revelation 3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
Replacement theology, where the Christian Church claims the promises and authority given to the Jews, has been a dangerous and harmful doctrine in history.
From this day forward their purpose was to kill Jesus and they put out word for informants to let them know where He was. The Passover was coming and it was expected that He would show up there. After all, how could He not, at this most important of times?
Jesus removed Himself and His disciples to the country temporarily, to a town called Ephraim.