Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death. Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.John 11:53-54
What a sad situation!
Normally, the Pharisees and the Sadducees were at odds with one another over many religious issues. In particular, they vehemently disagreed on the doctrine of the resurrection. However, their hatred for Jesus was a uniting factor that brought them together with a single quest – kill Jesus.
This intense hatred for Jesus hurt so many people. Jesus was no longer going to work miracles and teach among the people in Judea. We understand that nothing could or would prevent Jesus from dying for the sins of God’s people, but His open ministry of helping people had come to an end. There is no telling how many people still needed His healing and compassion for their life’s toils and pains. Yet, because of the jealousy of the religious leaders, the common people are hurt!
When the pride and arrogance of those who think themselves in charge work against God, people get hurt.
In America, we have enjoyed one of the longest eras of religious freedom in the history of the world, but America is now openly rejecting the Jesus of the Bible.
- The predominate teaching in our public school system denies the Creator God and our accountability to Him.
- Those who encourage righteous behavior are called bigots or homophobes.
- So-called churches use the name Jesus to excuse or even promote their immoral sins and doctrine.
- What were once Bible believing churches have now become so comfortable that they are like the Church at Laodicia and “have need of nothing.”
- Drag queens are encouraged in the public forum while true gospel ministers are suppressed by the media and government rulings.
- If the true Jesus, as described in the Bible, were walking among us today, what would America think of Him? Most “Christians” would probably call Him intolerant and unchristian!
It seems our country has forgotten the God of the Bible and rejected the true Jesus. And what is the result?
People are hurting.
America should heed the warning of history and see that the natural nation of Israel was destroyed less than forty years after this scene. A God-rejecting nation will not be blessed by God!
However, one point of encouragement is found in this passage. Jesus continued to fellowship and help His disciples. Those who wanted to follow Jesus and longed for His compassion still had a place to be with Him. Jesus withdrew to a small town called Ephraim.
While the world crumbles around us, we do not need to live in despair. The church can and does continue on. It may not be found on Main Street America, but there are little towns of Ephraim where His true name is proclaimed and people are still being helped.
By the way, historians generally agree that this little town called Ephraim is the same as a place called Bethel. That name means “House of God.”
What a marvelous promise that we have even when the world descends into sadness and chaos! The church is the place to find help, peace, and rest in the fellowship of the saints and the Lord Jesus Christ!