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As a result of “the Lazarus Incident” Jesus vaulted to the top of the Sanhedrin’s Ten Most Wanted List. He was now a marked man with a death sentence hanging over His head. (v. 53)
What I find interesting about this passage is the different reactions that people had to what they saw happen right before their very eyes. Verse 45 tells us that many of the Jews saw what Jesus did and put their faith in Him. But some (verse 46) were so outraged they went to the Pharisees and told them what they saw.
You would think that having seen Jesus raise a man from the dead would inspire awe and belief not anger and unbelief. How is it that people can see the exact same thing and come to two very different conclusions? Here are a few of my thoughts…
When it comes to Jesus, people have already made up their minds about what they will believe or not believe – Jesus is very polarizing. He always has been and I suspect He always will be. Whether it is because of their upbringing or a “bad religious experience” or because of a hardened heart, a lot of people have made up their minds about Jesus and have determined they will not be swayed in any way. No matter what they might see with their own eyes.
For many people, truth is relative – The argument goes like this… I have my truth and you have your truth. You saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead. I saw a really cool magic trick. You believe what you want and I’ll believe what I want and we’ll get along just fine. Just don’t try to make your truth better than my version of truth or try to make me believe that my truth is not truth at all. All truth is relative. There are no absolutes, of this I am absolutely positive.
Many people value position and power and prestige more than they value what is right or wrong – The Pharisees were worried that this Jesus cult was going to keep growing until it usurped the power of the Sanhedrin. They were worried that Rome would strip them of their authority over religious matters concerning the Jews. They were worried that their prestige as the Jewish elite would be taken away. So it did not matter what they might have seen Jesus do, they would have nothing to do with it.
Jealousy is indeed a monster – Some people just can’t stand to see other people succeed. It’s as if their success somehow diminishes them. When life is all about “me”, then other people are a threat. And when I feel threatened I get angry. And when I get angry people get hurt. The only way the Pharisees knew how to deal with the threat of Jesus was to get rid of Him. That way they could maintain their status and keep up their charade of success in the Jewish community.
“Father, would You open my eyes so that I can see and understand truth. And would You soften my heart so that I value what is right more than I value what others think of me.”
Next Week’s Passage: John 12:1-19