47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. 48 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.”
The ruling body of the nation Israel, the Sanhedrin, became alarmed by the following Jesus had from His dramatic miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead. They galvanized around defending their political power in Israel.
Then the chief priests [mostly Sadducees] and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do?
“Chief priests” may simply refer to leading priests. The Pharisees were lay experts in interpretation of the law. They were one of three main sects that included Sadducees and Essenes.
The “council” was the Sanhedrin, a group of 70 priests (mostly Sadducees) and scribes (mostly Pharisees) who called a session to officially deal with Jesus.
For this Man works many signs.
The “council” regarded Jesus’ increasing popularity as a threat to them. The idea may have been something like this: “We are getting nowhere with our present policy. Jesus is committing miracle after miracle and winning the favor of the people.” They were losing popularity with the populace compared to Jesus. He might fulfill the Messianic expectation of the people.
If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him,
The council was concerned that they might lose their power base with the people.
and the Romans will come and take away both our place [position as rulers] and nation.”
The council may have concluded that the Jesus movement would cause national insurrection because “everyone” in Israel would believe that He was the Messiah. If this happened, they would lose their center of authority and power in the nation of Israel.
Jesus also threatened their status with the people. Large crowds would attend the Passover, and Jesus could influence them away from the political center.
There are none so blind as those who cannot see.
Religion often opposes genuine Christianity. These systems even unite with others opposing their own position or not in their camp to undermine evangelicalism. This is blind hatred toward conservative Christianity. Religious leaders are often blind to clear, extant evidence. This is especially true with Jesus. He healed the blind man from birth and raised Lazarus from the dead, but they still did not believe. They purposefully avoided the evidence.