Dr. Lawrence Butler
The Bridge Church, Pembroke
John 11:45 – 12:11 In our last lesson we read where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead by calling him from the grave. It was perhaps His signature miracle. It was performed before many grieving Jews, there was no question Lazarus was dead (4 days in the grave), and there were two sisters who watched him die. How marvelous a sight to see one still bound with grave clothes able to get up and out the door of the tomb!
Some have thought he was wrapped as a mummy, but this is not necessarily so. He may have only had swaths of bandages covering his body without his arms and legs being tightly bound together. If so, this would have allowed him to walk out of the grave and yet still needing to be “loosed” from the grave clothes. The whole incident was so powerful and moving that, “Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him” (John 11:45). Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? But wait a minute.
The very next verse tells us that some of the Jews went straight to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus did. Surely they rejoiced, didn’t they?
No way. They began to plot the death of Jesus. “Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death” (John 11:53). Hard to imagine that religious leaders would have such an attitude. Watch out, not all leaders, religious or otherwise, really seek the truth. Oftentimes looking out for themselves, their financial welfare and their power, becomes more important than God’s will.
Shortly thereafter their wicked hearts are again revealed. The family prepared a meal for Lazarus as a celebration for the wonderful miracle performed in his life. According to John 12 Jesus and His disciples showed up for the gathering. Others began to arrive also.
Their purpose for coming?
“Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead” (John 12:9). This was becoming a huge testimony that Jesus really was the promised Messiah. No one had ever done the things Jesus did, and here was living proof. Lazarus! The response of the Jewish leaders? “But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus” (John 12:10-11). So, the plot thickens, as they now discuss not only killing Jesus, but also Lazarus in order to stop other Jews from believing in Christ Jesus as the Son of God. It’s rather amazing what people will become in order to preserve something they can’t keep anyway. Don’t follow the wrong thing.