"Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death." (John 11:47-53)
It is worthy the closest attention of the Reader, that the dying Patriarch Jacob should have left so memorable a prophecy, concerning the gathering of the people to Shiloh. Gen. 49:10. And that here again, as if to remind the Church of God of it, after so many ages had run out, God the Holy Ghost, who taught the faithful Jacob to utter such a prophecy; should have put the fellow of it in the mouth of this infidel Caiaphas to the same amount. But what cannot the Lord accomplish? By friend, or foe, the Lord, will bring about his holy will, as best suits his sovereign purpose. Even the Wrath of man shall praise him. Psm. 76:10. Reader! do not overlook the sweet feature in both prophecies. To Him (the Shiloh, said Jacob,) shall the gathering of the people be! He shall gather together in one, (the Evangelist explains was the burden of Caiaphas' prophecy) the children, of God that were scattered abroad. Yes! this is the first, and ultimate design of the whole Covenant of grace. Christ hath a people, his children; yea, the children of God, for God hath from all eternity given them to him. In this time-state, they were lost, were scattered abroad. My Sheep (saith the Lord by the spirit of prophecy,) wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill; yea my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them: Ezek. 34:6. But to Him, they must all be gathered. Not an hoof shall be left behind. Exod. 10:26. In that day that the great trumpet shall be blown, they shall come which were ready to perish. Isaiah 27:13. John 6:37. But what a wonderful subject, that God the Holy Ghost should make use of such a monster of iniquity, to utter so blessed a prophecy. True indeed the man meant what he said, in a very different sense. Yes! But there is the blessedness of the Lord's working by contrary means; and rendering that, which he meant for evil, to be productive of the greatest good. And Scripture abounds with unconscious instances to the same amount. The sons of Jacob selling Joseph, Gen. 45:7,8. Haman, for the destruction of Mordecai. Esther 7:10. And infinitely more, and above all, the Jews crucifying the Lord of life and glory! Acts 2:23.