Tuesday, April 22, 2014

THE LAZARUS PLOT (John Chapter 12)

John 12:10, “So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well.”

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.  It was an amazing miracle that testified clearly to the true identity and glory of Jesus (John 11:40).  There were many witnesses: “Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, 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 “gathered the council and said, ‘What are we to do?  For this man performs many signs.  If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation’” (John 11:47).  They had no heart or concern for the truth, but were concerned instead about their “place” and the earthly benefits associated with it.  The verdict of their council?  “From that day on they made plans to put him to death” (John 11:53).

The miraculous raising of Lazarus from the dead was a problem for them.  A great multitude sought after Lazarus (John 12:9).  “The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness” (John 12:17).  The word regarding Jesus was spreading. 

The light of the world came into the world—and there are but two possible responses to Him—come to the light (love the light) or hate the light.  John 3:19-21, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.  But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

So the religious leaders met together and came up with a plan.  Kill Lazarus.  Put him back in a tomb.  Put a stop to his living testimony regarding Christ.  Stop the word from spreading.  Stop people from believing in Him.  It mattered not what the truth was.  They hated the light.  He revealed things about them that they didn’t want disclosed.  He was a threat to their livelihood.  Instead of accepting the clear testimony borne by the miracle, they plotted to put Lazarus back in the grave!

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.  The religious leaders assembled, took counsel, and bribed the soldiers to lie about what happened (Cf. Matthew 28:11-15).

Risen from the dead “He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs” (Acts 1:3; Cf. 1 Corinthians 15:5-7).  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 and conspired again to extinguish the light of the truth (Acts 4:9).  They charged Peter and John “not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus” Acts 4:18).  But the light, the witness to the truth of Jesus’ resurrection, could not be stopped.  People kept on believing.  The religious leaders kept on threatening and even murdering, the Apostles kept on preaching (Acts 4:31, 7:57-60, 12:1-2).  And so it has been ever since.

Light-haters are always working to suppress the truth.  But the Sun still shines as does the truth concerning the Son of God.  Lazarus lived.  Jesus now lives.  Nothing can change the truth.  You can try to shut up or lock up those who bear witness to the truth, “but the Word of God is not bound” (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 (Cf. Romans 1:16).  They come into the light and rejoice in His glory!

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