Remind me again: How Have Religious Leaders Changed?  

If you don’t see the similarities between some of America’s church leaders and Caiaphas and the religious leaders in John 11 then you aren’t looking close enough. Here’s a quick recap if you are not up on your first century politics: In John 11, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and it throws the religious leaders into a frenzy. They call a secret meeting and say: If we let him (Jesus) go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation (John 11:48).

This is the only place in the New Testament where the term “the Romans” was used. Slow down, would-be scoffer—I know there is a book in the Bible called “Romans” and there are Roman centurions and Roman governors, etc., but this is the only place where the term “the Romans” is used to describe the Empire of Rome as a political and more important military entity. The religious leaders knew “the Romans” had the capabilities to destroy the temple and the nation. They were afraid that Jesus would so upset the apple cart (by doing such revolutionary things as preaching, healing, feeding people and raising the dead apparently), that the Romans would come in and destroy everything.

Here’s the rub: The Romans did destroy everything in the year 70AD and their aggression had nothing to do with Jesus. Here’s the other rub: John may have written this gospel AFTER the temple had been destroyed. In other words, the original readers of John would have been keenly aware that the Romans destroyed what the religious leaders were clinging to and it wasn’t because of Jesus or Lazarus. 

My point: The religious leaders in John 11 were plotting to kill people in an effort to save the “holy” religious institutions. Somehow in their twisted logic, they concluded that sinning would be OK if it meant saving the institutions. Make no mistake the Temple and the Nation of Israel were important and holy. But God Almighty did not need these bozos (no offense to Bozo) to “save” them by killing innocent people. If God Almighty wanted the temple saved from destruction, it would have been saved without Caiaphas and his henchmen.

Does any of this ring a bell? It should. We all know religious leaders who’ve attempted to do criminal things in an effort to “save” a church, publication, college or denomination. They have lied; coveted; cooked the books to make themselves or the institution look better; and probably somewhere, like those in John 11, have even plotted murder in an effort to “save” the church. 

God doesn’t need our sin-stained help to “save” the church. 

But the devil is sure using “insider” people to destroy it.


If leaders sin in an effort to “save” the church, we’ve already lost her. She will die. If we replace Jesus with anything (even good things), the church will die. Our focus must be on the main things (Loving God. Loving People. Making Christ-like disciples) or the church will die. Don’t be distressed over this news. God Almighty will raise up someone else to carry on His work. The Message of Jesus will continue until our King returns with or without us. The only question is: Will it be with us? I pray it will be.