John 11:49-54 : But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is advantageous for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.” Now he didn’t say this of himself, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but that he might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day forward they took counsel that they might put him to death. Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews, but departed from there into the country near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim. He stayed there with his disciples.
We can see here that when God wants to say something, He can. It is interesting that Caiaphas said something very profound but “didn’t say this of himself.” It is clear that the others didn’t understand it because they didn’t change their ways. God used Caiaphas to say, in plain language, that Jesus was a sacrifice for the sins of the world. This is the same thing that John the Baptist had been saying back in the first few chapters of John. A high priest understands this symbol because He spends his time bringing sacrifices to God. He would be the one bringing real lambs for sin offerings. I am not sure how John was told about what Caiaphas said. God may have made it known directly to him but he may have been told by Nicodemus. What an amazing thing that God decided to have spoken. It is good for us to know about this important evidence that God was at work.
When God decides to communicate something, nothing stands in His way. The Bible says that God will cause leaders to do whatever He wants:
Proverbs 21:1 : The king’s heart is in Yahweh’s hand like the watercourses. He turns it wherever he desires.
If a man refuses to speak the word of God, He can use something else. The Bible provides the record of a Prophet named Balaam who refused to do what God wanted, so God used His donkey to scold him (and the prophet answered!). You can read this in Numbers 22. Now, if you think a talking donkey is difficult to accept, how about a talking rock.
In one of the other records of Jesus’ life, the religious leaders complained when the people were praising Him out loud:
Luke 19:40 : He answered them, “I tell you that if these were silent, the stones would cry out.”
Don’t forget that God spoke to Moses from a bush also (Exodus 3). So, we know that if God wants to, He will use whatever He needs to to accomplish His purpose or deliver His message. It is good for us, as Christians, to remember that God wants to use us in a specific way. God waits for us to be willing to allow it. Allowing God to work through us is the normal life of a Christian. God shouldn’t have to use a donkey or a rock when a Christian is available.
Geography: According to the map, Jesus was forced to move north of Jerusalem quite a ways to get away from the Jewish opposition. There was plenty of wilderness there to pray in and spend time with His disciples.