Today I’m catching up on some Bible reading – I try to read at least one chapter a day from the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) but I slacked BIG TIME over the last semester, and have also been slacking at keeping up this month. So. Today, during my catch-up, I read John 11: The death of Lazarus.
Now. Lazarus is the brother of the Mary that poured perfume/oil over Jesus’ feet and lived in Bethany (two miles from Jerusalem). The sisters (Mary and Martha) contacted Jesus to tell him that their brother was quite ill, but Jesus didn’t go to them for several days. By the time he got there, Lazarus had already died, and the sisters were quite upset that Jesus hadn’t come to make him better. Jesus, however, had his own plan. He asked them to open the grave (despite some groanings about how bad the smell would be) and they opened it. Jesus thanked God for hearing him, and called to Lazarus: and out he walked! This is truly a beautiful story and an amazing miracle.
Unfortunately, that’s not the end of it: some of the witnesses went to the Pharisees (a group of Jews who were very pompous, proud, and ‘by the books’) to tell them about the miracle, and after hearing these people, they held a meeting of all the highest leaders in Israel: The Sanhedrin. Below is John 11: 47 – 53.
“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”
Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scatted children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
After this, Jesus didn’t go about publicly anymore, as he knew of their plots to kill him and his work was not yet done. The thing that most strikes me about this passage is the fact that the leaders don’t even attempt to say that he isn’t performing miracles or that he’s not performing miracles by God’s bidding: they are upset because his miracles are taking away from their leadership and they are afraid for their political future. Isn’t that sad? Here is the Son of God performing miracles in their midst, and even the high priest realizes that this man has come to unite the children of God, and yet they are content to plot for his death. Timing note: This occured MAYBE a week or two before Jesus’ crucifixion – Chapter 12 depicts his riding into Jerusalem for the Passover, Chapters 13 – 17 are his final teachings to his disciples, and Chapter 18 is his arrest.
Tell me: what do you think about this? Is it believable to you that Jesus was the Son of God? That he could raise people from the dead?