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Friday, March 8, 2024

Lazarus Raised

John 11:38-43

“ 43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.”

The religious elite were threatened by Jesus.  He was performing many miracles.  Crowds of people were following Him.  The raising of Lazarus was the last straw.  They knew that if they let Him continue unchecked that all of Israel would soon follow Him.  

The members of the Sanhedrin knew that Rome would not allow a popular leader to emerge.  Rome selected all kings and governors.  If Rome had to intervene, the role of the Sanhedrin might be diminished or eliminated.  

They told themselves that by killing Jesus, they were saving the nation.  They told themselves that they were patriots, preserving their nation.  They told themselves that their actions were justified, that they were doing something good.  But there was also a reason they wanted Jesus killed that they would not admit; they felt personally threatened by Jesus.  He was doing too many good things.

Lazarus had been in the tomb for three days.  Jesus called him from the tomb and raised him from the dead.  A wonderful, unheard of, never seen before, miraculous event.

And from that very day, they plotted to kill Jesus.

May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

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