To Die For the Nation

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 2 Chronicles 10-12; John 11:30-57

47 Then the chief priests and Pharisees called together the council and said, “What are we going to do? This man is doing many miraculous signs! 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him. Then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our people.”

49 One of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, told them, “You don’t know anything! 50 You don’t see that it is better for you that one man die for the people rather than the whole nation be destroyed.” 51 He didn’t say this on his own. As high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would soon die for the nation— 52 and not only for the nation. Jesus would also die so that God’s children scattered everywhere would be gathered together as one. 53 From that day on they plotted to kill him. (John 11: 47-53, Common English Bible).

This past Monday was Veteran’s Day. Many people are confused by what exactly Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, and Armed Forces Day actually mean.

Armed Forces Day is the third Saturday of May. Armed Forces Day is to recognize those who currently serve our country. For those currently serving, we owe a debt of gratitude. They often live in and under extraordinarily difficult conditions so we can sleep better at night. Though he is not currently serving, our son Wayne spent five years in the Marine Corp. When he was deployed we gained a real understanding of what many parents have felt for generations.

Veteran’s Day is November 11th. Veteran’s Day celebrates those who have served our country in peacetime or in wartime. I was a peacetime sailor. I am proud to have served. There have been others like my father or my son who served during times of conflict. I am extraordinarily thankful for their service.

Then, there is Memorial Day. We celebrate Memorial Day on the last Monday of May. Memorial Day remembers those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It is for those who died in battle. For those who have served, it is the most solemn of days. It is a day for which we all should be thankful because, while all of us who have served said we would die for the nation, these were those who actually did. When someone “thanks me for my service” on Memorial Day, I want to scream, “No, it isn’t about me,” for at least that one day. That day is about people who did something I never had to do. Die for my country.

In our lesson today, the High Council was talking about someone dying for the nation but it wasn’t like what we remember on Memorial Day. It was more like what we remember on Good Friday and celebrate on Easter Sunday.

In the lesson, Caiaphas, the high priest, gives a prophecy to the council. “…You don’t see that it is better for you that one man die for the people rather than the whole nation be destroyed.” (John 11:50, CEB) Caiaphas was right. Well, he was partially right. Jesus would die for the nation, for the people. But, Caiaphas was saying that Jesus was dying to protect the nation from himself.

Yes, Caiaphas was partially right. Jesus did die for the people, all the people. He died, not to protect Israel, but to give we who believe life, eternal life with God. Praise God for such a blessing.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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