Lazarus Must Die!
“The chief priests decided to kill Lazarus also because he was the reason many of the Jews were deserting them and believing in Jesus” (John 12:10-11).
He was back from the dead.
No one could deny that fact. In the first place, Bethany was a small village where everyone knew everyone, so no one could deny that Lazarus had died. It happened like this: He got sick, he died, and they buried him.
Nothing out of the ordinary.
It’s what happened next that made headlines. Jesus came along and raised him from the dead. That was startling enough. But no one could deny any part of it because it happened publicly.
Lazarus was dead.
Then he was alive again.
You could argue about how it happened, but the basic facts were there for all to see. The Jewish leaders had a problem on their hands. You can’t have dead men coming back to life. It upsets the normal order of things. If word spreads that this man Jesus can raise the dead, people will flock to him by the thousands. They will come from everywhere to see this man whose word defeats death. Pretty soon word would spread to the Romans who didn’t like local uprisings. They frowned on charismatic leaders who attracted great crowds. If the Romans got involved, it would mean nothing but trouble for the Jewish leaders.
But that was only part of the problem. Lazarus was Exhibit A of Jesus’ awesome power. If you let a man like Lazarus run around telling his story, pretty soon everyone ends up believing in Jesus. Suddenly the whole Jewish system is in jeopardy. So they decided on a simple solution.
Lazarus must die!
Miracles are always a double-edged sword. Religious people feel threatened because Jesus doesn’t fit into their manmade boxes. Better to destroy the evidence than to admit a miracle took place.
The same thing happens today. If you take your stand for Jesus, someone won’t be happy. You may get in trouble. In some parts of the world, you may pay with your life for being a Christian.
We don’t know if the Jewish leaders actually killed Lazarus. Maybe they didn’t have to because they ended up killing Jesus a few days later.
But he wouldn’t stay dead either!
Let’s take away two lessons today. First, don’t be surprised when some people reject you because of your Christian testimony. Jesus said this would happen. Second, remember that the worst our enemies can do is kill us. We go to heaven when we die, and our bodies are raised when Jesus comes again. If we lose, we win!
So go ahead and stand strong, be bold, live for Christ, endure hardship, stand up for what you believe. The worst that can happen is the best that can happen. Our future is secure because it doesn’t rest on us; it rests on the faithfulness of God who raised Jesus from the dead.
Make me bold, Lord Jesus, to bear witness for you today. I pray that my testimony will lead many people to believe in you. Amen.