“Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation.” (John 11:51)
This scripture give us yet another example of how God can use ungodly men in positions of authority as He will for His ultimate purposes:
— Here was Caiaphas, the High Priest himself, advocating murder in the assembly of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council. To put it in a contemporary context, it would be like plotting murder at the Executive Board of the Southern Baptist Convention!
— And yet the verse tells us “he prophesied” — God put a prophetic word in his mouth, almost (not almost but really!) despite himself — because “being high priest that year” he was God’s authority over the people. In this position of authority God used him for His purposes: prophesying here about Jesus’ substitutionary atonement. His words would be remembered by those present, and have been recorded here both as a witness to Jesus, and to the ability of God to work through even the worst of men.
God still uses people whom He allows to rise to positions of authority today, even when they are less than exemplary in many ways. This is one of the reasons He commands His followers to submit to God-ordained authorities (Romans 13) and to pray for them all (I Timothy 2). These acts, despite the weaknesses of the ones serving in authority, are an act of faith on the part of His people, that despite the unworthiness of the men serving, God really is ultimately the One in charge.