John 11:49 Commentary - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New TestamentThe foregoing verses acquainted us with the apprehension which the chief priests had of the necessity of taking away the life of our blessed Savious; Lest the Romans should take away both their place and nation.
Now here in these verses Caiaphas the high priest delivers his opinion for the preventing of this danger; he tells the rest, that they ought not to to boggle at the matter, but come to a positve and peremptory resolution to provide for the public safety, right or wrong: and that it is a great folly to prefer one man's life, thoguh ever so innocent, before a nation's welfare; a most wicked and devilish speech; as a judge he regarded not what was lawful, but as a wicked politician, he consulted what was expedient; he declares, that one man, though ever so good and holy, though ever so just and innocent, had better die, than a whole nation suffer; as where it is in any case unlawful to do evil that good may come.
Learn hence, That although it be the duty of all persons to pray for, and endeavour after, the public welfare of a church and nation, whereof they are members; yet it is altogether unlawful to promote the greatest national good, by wicked and unlawful means.
Observe farther, How God over-ruled the tongue of Caiaphas beyond his own intention, prophetically to foretell that great good, which, by our Saviour's death, should redound to the world, and that the fruit and benefit of his death should not only extend to the Jews, but to the Gentiles also; and that he should gather in one body, or church, all that truly believe in him, though far and wide dispersed upon the face of the earth.
Hence learn, 1. That the spirit of prophecy did fall sometimes upon very bad men, and God has been pleased to reveal some part of his mind to the worst of men. Thus Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar had in their dreams a revelation form God, what things he intended to do.
Learn, 2. That it is consistent with the holiness of God, sometimes to make use of the tongues of the worst of men, to publish and declare his will. Caiaphas here, though a vile and wicked man, was influenced by God to prophecy and speak as an oracle. Almighty God may, when he pleases, employ wicked men this way, without any prejudice to his holiness. This Caiaphas spake not of himself, but, being high priest that year, he prophesied, that Jesus should die for that nation.
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Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament
William Burkitt (1650 - 1703) was a Church of England clergyman, bible expositor, and devotional writer.
Volume 1: Matthew - John, was published in 1700.
Volume 2: Acts - Revelation was published 1703.