Would Jesus come to the Passover festival? (Jn 11:56-11:56)

“They were looking

For Jesus.

They were asking

One another

As they stood

In the Temple.

‘What do you think?

Will he come

To the festival?’”

ἐζήτουν οὖν τὸν Ἰησοῦν καὶ ἔλεγον μετ’ ἀλλήλων ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ ἑστηκότες Τί δοκεῖ ὑμῖν; ὅτι οὐ μὴ ἔλθῃ εἰς τὴν ἑορτήν;

John uniquely indicated that these early arrivals in Jerusalem were looking for or seeking (ἐζήτουν οὖν) Jesus (τὸν Ἰησοῦν).  They were asking one another (καὶ ἔλεγον μετ’ ἀλλήλων) as they stood in the Temple (ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ ἑστηκότες) what did they think (Τί δοκεῖ ὑμῖν)?  Was Jesus going to come (ὅτι οὐ μὴ ἔλθῃ) to the Passover festival (εἰς τὴν ἑορτήν) or not?  These people who arrived early for the Passover were in the Temple discussing whether Jesus would show up for the Passover or not.  Thus, they were looking for Jesus.  Do you worry about other people showing up at worship services?

The approach of Passover (Jn 11:55-11:55)

“Now the Passover

Of the Jews

Was near.

Many went up

From the country

To Jerusalem

Before the Passover,

To purify themselves.”

Ἦν δὲ ἐγγὺς τὸ πάσχα τῶν Ἰουδαίων, καὶ ἀνέβησαν πολλοὶ εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα ἐκ τῆς χώρας πρὸ τοῦ πάσχα, ἵνα ἁγνίσωσιν ἑαυτούς.

John uniquely indicated that the Passover of the Jews (τὸ πάσχα τῶν Ἰουδαίων) was near (Ἦν δὲ ἐγγὺς).  Many people (πολλοὶ) went up (καὶ ἀνέβησαν) from the countryside (ἐκ τῆς χώρας) to Jerusalem (εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα) before the Passover (πρὸ τοῦ πάσχα) to cleanse or purify themselves (ἵνα ἁγνίσωσιν ἑαυτούς).  This would be the third Passover in John, while the other synoptics only wrote about this final or one Passover of Jesus in Jerusalem.  Arriving early for purification was due to the fact that some people on their way to Jerusalem may have encountered a dead person or an unclean animal or done some other unclean things.  They needed to be purified before the Passover event itself.  This can be found in Numbers, chapter 9:9-11.  If they became unclean, they could postpone Passover for a month.  Otherwise, they would have to do a ritual cleansing to be clean for Passover.  In 2 Chronicles, chapter 30:15-20, some unclean people still celebrated Passover, but there was a problem.  Passover in Jerusalem was a big deal.  Do you arrive early for worship services?

Jesus did not walk around openly (Jn 11:54-11:54)


Jesus no longer

Walked about openly

Among the Jews.

But he went

From there

To a town

Called Ephraim

In the region

Near the wilderness.

He stayed there

With his disciples.”

Ὁ οὖν Ἰησοῦς οὐκέτι παρρησίᾳ περιεπάτει ἐν τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις, ἀλλὰ ἀπῆλθεν ἐκεῖθεν εἰς τὴν χώραν ἐγγὺς τῆς ἐρήμου, εἰς Ἐφραὶμ λεγομένην πόλιν, κἀκεῖ ἔμεινεν μετὰ τῶν μαθητῶν.

John uniquely indicated that Jesus seemed to know that they were out to get him.  He said that Jesus (Ὁ οὖν Ἰησοῦς) no longer walked about openly (οὐκέτι παρρησίᾳ περιεπάτει) among the Jews (ἐν τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις).  But he went from there (ἀλλὰ ἀπῆλθεν ἐκεῖθεν), which was Bethany, to a town called Ephraim (εἰς Ἐφραὶμ λεγομένην πόλιν) in the region (εἰς τὴν χώραν) near the wilderness (ἐγγὺς τῆς ἐρήμου).  He stayed there (κἀκεῖ ἔμεινεν) with his disciples (μετὰ τῶν μαθητῶν).  Jesus had been in Bethany with Lazarus, Mary, and Martha that was just two miles from Jerusalem.  Jesus then went with his disciples to a town called Ephraim, a town about 12-15 miles northeast of Jerusalem, maybe in Samaritan territory, where the hill country descended into the Jordan River valley.  This might have been a place where John the Baptist baptized in the wilderness, near the Jordan River.  Jesus and his disciples stayed there rather than run into the Jews in Jerusalem.  Have you ever deliberately avoided people?

They plan to kill Jesus! (Jn 11:53-11:53)

“From that day on,

They planned

To put Jesus

To death.”

ἀπ’ ἐκείνης οὖν τῆς ἡμέρας ἐβουλεύσαντο ἵνα ἀποκτείνωσιν αὐτόν.

John uniquely indicated that from that day on (ἀπ’ ἐκείνης οὖν τῆς ἡμέρας), they planned or were determined (ἐβουλεύσαντο) to put Jesus to death (ἵνα ἀποκτείνωσιν αὐτόν).  The decision to kill Jesus was made much earlier in John than in the other synoptic gospel writers.  The Sanhedrin council did not meet in an emergency session this early in the synoptic gospels, but here in John it was very deliberate.  Have you ever belonged to a group that had an emergency session meeting?

This is also for the diaspora (Jn 11:52-11:52)

“This was not

For this nation only,

But to gather

Into one

The dispersed

Children of God.”

καὶ οὐχ ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἔθνους μόνον, ἀλλ’ ἵνα καὶ τὰ τέκνα τοῦ Θεοῦ τὰ διεσκορπισμένα συναγάγῃ εἰς ἕν.

John uniquely indicated that Caiaphas said that one man, Jesus, should die not for their nation or country only (καὶ οὐχ ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἔθνους μόνον), but (ἀλλ’) to gather into one (συναγάγῃ εἰς ἕν) the dispersed (διεσκορπισμένα) children of God (ἵνα καὶ τὰ τέκνα τοῦ Θεοῦ).  This chief priest Caiaphas said that killing this one man, Jesus, would not only help their own country, but also all those children of God who were dispersed throughout the world.  They all might become one again.  This was a reference to the Jewish people who were living outside of Israel.  For John, and the followers of Christ, this might have meant those non-Jewish followers of Jesus after his death and resurrection.  Once again, John indicated that Caiaphas was predicting that the whole world would follow Jesus, not just the Israelite Jewish people.  Should all the people in the world follow Jesus?

Jesus should die for this country (Jn 11:51-11:51)

“He did not say this

On his own.

But being the high priest

That year,

He prophesied

That Jesus

Was about to die

For the nation.”

τοῦτο δὲ ἀφ’ ἑαυτοῦ οὐκ εἶπεν, ἀλλὰ ἀρχιερεὺς ὢν τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ ἐκείνου ἐπροφήτευσεν ὅτι ἔμελλεν Ἰησοῦς ἀποθνήσκειν ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἔθνους,

John uniquely indicated that Caiaphas did not say this on his own (τοῦτο δὲ ἀφ’ ἑαυτοῦ οὐκ εἶπεν).  Since he was the high priest that year (ἀλλὰ ἀρχιερεὺς ὢν τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ ἐκείνου), he actually prophesied (ἐπροφήτευσεν) that Jesus (Ἰησοῦς) was about (ὅτι ἔμελλεν) to die (ἀποθνήσκειν) for their nation or country (ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἔθνους).  John seemed to see the irony that this high priest was saying that one man should die for the whole country, exactly what Jesus did for the whole world, including his country.  In other words, this high priest was prophesying about the death of Jesus for the whole world, precisely in his role as high priest under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Can one person save a country?

One man should die to save others (Jn 11:50-11:50)

“You do not understand

That it is better

For you

To have one man

Die for the people,

Than to have

The whole nation


οὐδὲ λογίζεσθε ὅτι συμφέρει ὑμῖν ἵνα εἷς ἄνθρωπος ἀποθάνῃ ὑπὲρ τοῦ λαοῦ καὶ μὴ ὅλον τὸ ἔθνος ἀπόληται.

John uniquely indicated that Caiaphas, the high priest, said they did not understand or think (οὐδὲ λογίζεσθε) that it would be better or more profitable (ὅτι συμφέρει) for them (ὑμῖν) to have one man (ἵνα εἷς ἄνθρωπος) die (ἀποθάνῃ) for all the people (ὑπὲρ τοῦ λαοῦ), than to have the whole nation or country (καὶ μὴ ὅλον τὸ ἔθνος) destroyed or perish (ἀπόληται).  Caiaphas made the argument that one person dying was better than having the whole country wiped out.  Do you think that martyrdom is a good idea?