Today, I see a practical expression of that figure of speech which English professionals call Dramatic Irony. It was actually played by the Sadducees and Caiaphas against our Blessed Lord. HOW DID IT BEGIN?
The gospel of today is the resultant effect of what happened last Sunday when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (after four days in the grave). Many of the Jews when they saw what Jesus did were invited by it and induced to believe in him. Others were irritated by it, hardened in their unbelief and even went to inform the Pharisees and the Sadducees, not merely as a matter of news but with a spiteful design to excite a vigorous prosecution on him. Here is a strange instance of a most obstinate infidelity.
This therefore led the Pharisees to multiply their hatred because the wickedness of the wicked ripens by degrees. It never occurred to them to ask whether Jesus was right or wrong. Their only question was: “what effect will this have on our ease and comfort and authority?”. They decided to judge things, not in the light of principles but in the light of their own career. Let those who set their own career before the will of God take note.
Such a selfish judgement is apparently revealed in the fact that they acknowledged Jesus’ credentials and yet deny his commission, they strongly suspected him to be the Messiah but his doctrine was contrary to their darling traditions and secular interest.
As a result, they so much trusted in their own power and policy that they would be able to conquer him who had conquered death (in the raising of Lazarus). But the Almighty who sits in heaven laughs at the fond conceit which impotent malice has of its own omnipotence.
Hence we could observe the dramatic irony, where a character says something whose full significance he does not realise.
The first character was played by the Sadducees. They insisted that Jesus must be eliminated or the Romans would come and take their authority away. And unfortunately contrary to their plans, after the death of Jesus, this is exactly what happened to them in AD70 when the Romans, weary of Jewish stubbornness, besieged Jerusalem, and left it a heap of ruins with a plough drawn across the Temple area. The very (selfish) steps they took to save their nation, destroyed it.
Another tremendous example of dramatic irony is in the character of Caiaphas, which was malicious but mystical. Malicious because he demanded nothing less than death upon Christ. It was mystical because he prophesied (though he himself was not aware of it), that Jesus should die for that nation.
Here, we could observe a precious comment upon a pernicious text. This implies that the counsel of cursed Caiaphas is construed as to fall in with the counsel of blessed God. A dramatic irony indeed because, he made the statement as an artifice to stir up the council against Christ but it became an Oracle (no longer artifice) to declare the design of God to save God’s spiritual children from sin and wrath by the death of Christ. Note, those that have set themselves against Christianity have commonly divested themselves of humanity, and been infamous for cruelty.
Take this to heart: many strategies have been set for the fall of Christendom right from the time of its founder, Jesus Christ. Such strategies have emerged through Jewish elders, Roman paganism, internal conflicts like heresies and papal conciliarism, Church and State conflicts and wars, even pestilence like influenza and so on. But all these attacks worketh for the advancement of Christianity. That of COVID-19 pandemic which emerged in our own generation is part the Christian history and must certainly be a history for Christian growth in faith.
GOD LOVES YOU!