02.23.15 "The Point of No Return!"

John 11:41-50 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”

49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

In every story there is a point of no return.  A few years ago during a trip to the West coast, my wife and I visited Universal Studios which is actually a movie based theme park.  We arrived in the late afternoon and since the park would only be open a few more hours the cashier gave us a great deal on some VIP passes.  These passes allowed us to move to the front of the line on any ride or show in the park.  Because of the time crunch we moved quickly from show to show and ride to ride.  The film “The Mummy” had come out a year or so earlier and I noticed there was a ride there based on the movie.  Keep in mind I am long since passed the age of enjoying heart throbbing, hold on to your seat amusement park rides.   The rides we’d taken that day were easy moving excursions into movie magic world.  Slow moving trams riding past robotic dinosaurs among realist but fake volcanos and waterfalls.  The action was all really cool, but virtual, computer animated type stuff.

We moved very quickly toward the entrance for “The Mummy”.   The lines were long and I was feeling pretty good about getting those VIP passes when we were waived to the front of the line.  My wife and I jumped into the car excitedly and then they strapped us in.   The strapping in part should have been a red flag for me but I had too much adrenaline going.  It was only after the ride began moving that we noticed the sign, “Caution: this is a super high speed roller coaster.”  Our fates were sealed and there was nothing we could do.   We had unwittingly arrived at the point of no return.

In Eden that point was the bite of forbidden fruit.  In Egypt that point came when Pharaoh spoke the words he believed condemned the first born of Israel.   In Jerusalem that point came in Bethany with the stunning resurrection of a man dead for three days.  That beautifully choreographed miracle sealed our LORD’s fate as both a force beyond anything anyone had ever seen and a target marked for certain death.   Now the pieces began to come together and the mission was made clear.

50 “…that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

What should have been the tragic end turned out to be just the beginning.  This point of no return became the turning point that changed everything.

Gracious Heavenly FATHER how beautifully YOU planned the rescue of YOUR creations in the horrible sacrifice and suffering of YOUR SON for our sake.  With pinpoint accuracy these events unfolded just as designed and changed everything.  FATHER, keep us mindful this season of the Holy Sacrifice made on our behalf and grant us the honor and privilege of sharing the pain, grief, and joy of our SAVIOR’s Passion.  In JESUS name we pray!

Jim L