18:14 Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
Let's be clear about why Jesus was hated by the religious authorities. Religion is an effective tool to control people. If you can get people to believe something that belief will control them without any effort from you. The religious leaders of Jesus day had a sweet deal going. They painted a picture of a demanding and arbitrary God that must be obeyed very strictly. Failure to obey meant no rewards, no forgiveness, no hope. So twisted was the picture of God that my favourite author said this about it: "The sacrifices that were meant to demonstrate His love were offered instead to appease His wrath".
The lambs brought to the temple were supposed to remind the people continually of what God was going to do for them. Instead they were taught to view it as something they were doing for Him. Everything was backwards and upside down. So backwards that when the actual Lamb of God came to die for them the very idea of Him dying was intolerable. Their very Hope was deemed unfathomable.
Instead of the Story being about God's love and great rescue plan for humanity, it instead became about us buying our way back into His favour making us our own saviours. This constant mindset of trying to appease our guilt was a constant cash cow for the religious leaders back then. It was also a cash cow that financed all the mighty cathedrals of Europe and continues to drive bad religion to this day.
Into this mess stepped Jesus. He drew huge crowds. His message was not about how bad the people were but about how Great God is. He demonstrated by the people He talked to and ate with and helped that God loves all people. He began most of His parables with "The kingdom of heaven is like..." drawing people's attention upward.
What really drew the hatred of the religious leaders was Jesus disregard for their petty controlling rules. Particularly was this true with regards to how the Sabbath was enforced by the church versus how Jesus kept it. You will remember how they were going to strip the blind man of his right to be a part of the Jews because he was healed on the Sabbath and it involved making some mud and then washing his eyes.
Of course it really had zero to do with Sabbath keeping or even obedience to the law. No it was strictly a matter of undermining their authority. It was a turf war. Caiaphas had a solution. He was the High Priest. He was supposed to be the highest representative of God for the nation similar to the pope today. What was his solution? Jesus must die. If Jesus isn't dealt with we will lose our entire control of the nation.
Ironic isn't it. Healing a blind man on Sabbath is an act worthy of death but murder is okay.
When religion loses sight of God or makes him out to be Someone entirely like us, it becomes an evil far worse than no religion at all.
Do you know what else is ironic? Caiaphas in spite of his wrong motive was absolutely right. It was better and always God's plan to have one Man die for the people - all people, all classes, all nations, all religions.
"Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the whole world."