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We have all spoken words at times that were inciting and we wondered where they came from? Sometimes we are divinely inspired even though we do not know it at the time. This is the case of Caiaphas, the high priest who would be a part of the plot seeking the death of Jesus. He said, “It is better for you that one man should die instead of the people.”
Obviously, he was thinking on a more earthly level. He and the others were afraid that Jesus would incite the Romans to come and take the land of Israel and the nation. They were also afraid that if people came to believe in Jesus, they would have diminished religious authority. In fact, both came to pass despite the death of Jesus. Rome destroyed the temple and the city in the year 70AD and the power of the Pharisees came to an end.
But Caiaphas was divinely inspired on a very spiritual level when he said that the death of one man, Jesus, would save the people.
Jesus would die to set all of us free – not from the Romans – but from our sinfulness and the death that it brings about. Although we all deserved to die because of our sins, according to St. Paul, Jesus bore the punishment of us all on the cross. He took our place so that we did not need too. He is the Lamb of God who was sacrificed to take away the sins of the world.
This is a central teaching of our faith.