Saturday, April 21, 2012


John 12:10, “But the chief priests took counsel that they might put Lazarus to death also.”

Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus had been dead and lying in a cave for four days. By His mere word Jesus called him forth. He came forth. It was an amazing miracle, irrefutable evidence bearing witness to the true identity of Jesus. There were many witnesses. “Many (who) beheld what He had done, believed in Him” (John 11:45).

There were two differing responses to that remarkable event. There were those who believed and those who refused to accept the truth. The chief priests and Pharisees heard about what happened. They “convened a council, and were saying, ‘What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. (John 11:47). Their concern? That the people would believe in Him and the Romans would then “come and take away both (their) place and (their) nation” (John 11:48). They had no heart or concern for the truth. They were concerned only for their “place” and the earthly benefits associated with it. The verdict of their council? “So from that day on they planned together to kill Him (John 11:53). The miraculous raising of Lazarus from the dead was troublesome to them.

A great multitude sought after Lazarus (John 12:9). “The multitude who were with (Jesus) when He called Lazarus out of the tomb, and raised him from the dead, were bearing Him witness” (John 12:17). The word was spreading. Jesus had raised Lazarus, a man dead for four days, from the dead. They saw it happen. Jesus merely said a word—and Lazarus came forth from the tomb. They saw Lazarus. He had supper with his sisters and Jesus (John 12:1-2).

The light of the world came into the world—and there are but two responses to Him—come to the light (love the light) or hate the light. John 3:19-21, “And this is judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifest as having been wrought in God” (John 3:21).

So the religious leaders met together and came up with a plan. Kill Lazarus. Put him back in a tomb. Stop the witness concerning Christ. Stop the word from spreading. Stop people from believing in Him. It matters not what the truth is. We don’t like the light. He reveals things about us that we don’t want anyone to see. Let’s kill him and shove him back in a grave lest people keep on believing in this Jesus!

Jesus Christ died on a cross and was buried in a tomb. A stone, a seal, and a Roman guard were set in place to keep the light extinguished. Their evil deed accomplished, the religious leaders rested. But the light escaped. Risen from the dead He appeared “to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time…then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles” (1 Corinthians 15:5-7). “He…presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs” (Acts 1:3). Peter and John and the others were witnesses to the light. Filled with the Spirit they were boldly “proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead” (Acts 4:2). So the religious leaders “gathered together” in another council (Acts 4:5). They put Peter and John on trial (Acts 4:9). They worked again to extinguish the light. They commanded Peter and John “not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18). But the light, the truth, could not be extinguished. People kept on believing. They kept on threatening and even murdering (Acts 7:57-60; 12:1-2). And so it has been ever since.

Why did they seek to kill Lazarus? Because “everyone who does evil hates the light” (John 3:20). Lazarus bore witness to the light. Why do believers even now suffer persecution? Because “everyone who does evil hates the light.” To the extent that you bear witness to the light you will likewise be an object of disdain. Don’t be surprised by this. “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Philippians 1:29; Cf. 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:12-13). Light-haters are always working to extinguish the light. But neither the Sun nor the light of truth concerning God’s Son can be extinguished by man. Lazarus lived. Jesus now lives. Nothing can change the truth. You can try to shut up or lock up those who bear witness, “But the Word of God is not (and cannot) be imprisoned” (2 Timothy 2:9). And not all will hate the light. Some hear the truth of the gospel—the power of God unto salvation—and believe. They come into the light and revel in His glory!

Pastor Jerry

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