by Mike Benson
Martha and Mary urged the Lord to check on their brother’s welfare (John 11:3). Instead, Jesus tarried for two more days before leaving for Bethany (11:6) to check on his ailing friend.
When He finally did arrive on the scene, Lazarus had been “grave-yard dead” for four days (11:39).
The Lord made His way to the tomb where Lazarus had been buried. He asked that the stone be rolled aside and then shouted, “Lazarus, come forth!” (11:43).
Scripture records wondrously, “And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth…” (11:44).
Some of those who witnessed this awesome scene reported the event to the Pharisees (11:46). What is striking to me is that even the avowed enemies of Jesus admitted His miraculous works. They pondered, “…What shall we do? For this Man works many signs” (11:47).
Did you catch that? The truth of the resurrection was so self-evident and undeniable that even those who hated Him couldn’t deny what He had done.
What is especially telling to me is the fear and concern that the Pharisees experienced. They said, “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” (11:48), so they conspired to murder Him (11:53).
Let that rattle around in your brain for a while. Why would folks want to kill a Man with the ability to raise the dead?! Why were the Pharisees afraid of Jesus–the embodiment of truth? The answer to these questions also explains why many people fear truth today.
1. Truth threatened their POWER base. The Pharisees said, “If we let him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him…” These men realized that if folks kept seeing what Jesus could do and hear His message then they would forsake their oversight and follow the Lord.
2. Truth exposed their ERROR and SIN. “…From that day on they plotted to put Him to death” (11:53). If there had been no corruption within the Jewish leadership of the day, they would have welcomed Jesus as the Promised One. One of the reasons the Pharisees rejected the Truth was because they were living in a state of unrepentant sin. These “religious” men had murder in their hearts! Had they been living within the will of God they would have had no reason to fight against what the Lord taught and practiced. .
3. Truth threatened the STATUS QUO. “…The Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” The Jews were afraid that the excitement from the news of Lazarus’ resurrection would incur Rome’s heavy hand down upon them and lead to the loss of what national life still remained in their possession. They weren’t ready or willing to change. Note the phrase, “…Our place…”
Good reader, how do you feel when truth of Jesus Christ is taught and practiced? When the preacher urges you to die to self and “walk in newness of life” (e.g., resurrection–Rom. 6:3-4), do you get upset? Do you feel threatened? Are you worried that your sin may be discovered? Do you feel the need to fight and keep things “as they are”? Give it some thought.
by Mike Benson