Jesus Withdraws to Ephraim

A dignified-looking, middle-aged gentleman decided to take advantage of a special sale and buy his wife a pair of nylons. After waiting an hour on the fringe of a screaming, pushing mob of women, he plunged toward the counter with both arms flying. Suddenly a shrill voice hollere … More


Many of the people who had come to visit Mary saw the things that Jesus did, and they put their faith in him (v. 45). When Jesus presents Himself there are always two responses. Some believe on Him and others are hardened in their sin. In this case the latter group went to Jerusalem to report what had happened in Bethany (v. 46). Upon learning of this, the Jewish council (Sanhedrin) met to discuss what to do with Jesus (v. 47). If He gathered too many followers, He might get the attention of the Roman authority; and this could hurt the Jewish cause (v. 48). Caiaphas, the high priest, reasons that if Jesus lives, the nation will die (vv. 49-53). In the interest of patriotism, Jesus must die so that the nation will live. These leaders thought they were in control of the situation, but instead God was working out His predetermined plan (Acts 2:23). Christ would die to save the nation spiritually, whereas Caiaphas intended for Him to die to save the nation politically.

Jesus, knowing their intentions, withdrew himself to Ephraim, about fifteen miles north of Jerusalem where He stayed with His disciples (v. 54). This little village provided a place for rest and it was close to the wilderness of Judea in case it was necessary to escape. At the same time the pilgrims were coming to Jerusalem for the Passover and there was much excitement over the ministry of Christ (v. 55). As the crowd was gathering in Jerusalem for the Passover feast, the pilgrims were wondering if Jesus would attend the feast even though his life was in danger. Popular opinion among the common people was in His favor. However, the religious authorities made it clear that any who saw Him must report it so they might arrest Him (vv. 56-57).


Have you known of a Christian leader who felt threatened by another Christian who was successful? This was a big problem with the religious leaders in Jesus’ day and is still a problem today. Lord, help me to rejoice when another person is praised and I am not.

John 11:45-57 (English Standard Version)

Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the Council and said, "What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation." But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish." He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they made plans to put him to death. Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and there he stayed with the disciples. Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, "What do you think? That he will not come to the feast at all?" Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.

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