“[Caiaphas] 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 [Jewish] nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad” (Jn. 11:51-52).
The religious leaders in Jerusalem were not happy with the effect Jesus was having on the status quo. Jesus was really becoming a nuisance, and their patience with Him was running out. Not able or willing to deny His miracles, the religious leaders simply decided that Jesus had to be stopped… no matter who He claims to be.
Their opposition was violent and resolute, but these events were the climax of a much bigger and older story. God had been at work since before the foundations of the world, and God intended that Jesus would bear the full weight of His wrath against sinners. Like the Assyrian king who marveled at his own power (Is. 10:5-11), God used the religious leaders of Jerusalem to bring about His purposes of judgment the world.
Only this time, God’s judgment fell upon His own Son. What a profound display we see in the Gospel of Christ! In and through Jesus’ suffering, God exhausted His own wrath against sinners and gathered into one the Children of God from all peoples.