The Pharisees Plot To Kill Jesus And Lazarus
By Steph Nickel
One of the most well-known stories of the bible is about Lazarus, and his sisters, Mary and Martha. Today’s post examines a new twist in the story of Lazarus as the Pharisees seek not only to kill Jesus, but Lazarus too.
Continuing The Story Of Lazarus
The story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead may be familiar to you. Maybe you know the story of Mary anointing the Lord’s feet with expensive perfume and wiping them with her hair. You may even have heard of Judas Iscariot’s reaction to such extravagance.
But what follows in John 12:9-11(ESV) is mind-boggling!
“Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.”
To say that power and position were important to the chief priests in the first century is most definitely an understatement. They plotted and schemed to silence Jesus, not because they denied He had performed miracle after miracle. Not because they were worried that He was leading the people astray. But because they feared for their own status.
Plotting To Kill
Plotting to kill Jesus in order to retain their social standing and power was bad enough, almost unbelievable, but as we read in today’s passage, they also plotted to kill Lazarus. Making plans to kill a man who had been raised from the dead . . . there’s something sadly ironic about that.
They saw him as part of the problem. His very existence threatened their position because he could give a firsthand account of what Jesus had done for him—and who Jesus was. The chief priests saw Lazarus as just one more inconvenience to get out of the way.
While I trust none of us have plotted to kill anyone, we may face what we perceive to be obstacles in a variety of unhealthy ways:
We do our best to ignore them. We may be happy with the status quo. We may feel just too overwhelmed or too tired to face the hurdles in our path, sticking our head in the proverbial sand, hoping they’ll just go away.
We seek to push the obstacles away. We admit there may be something to be learned, but it’s just too hard to face, too draining. We have too much else on the go. We’ll deal with the obstacles eventually, but not today.
We point fingers at others, believing they’re to blame for life’s hurdles. We may think it’s their responsibility to clear the obstacles from our path—or we may push these people away, thinking the obstacles will disappear if they are no longer in our lives.
Meet Obstacles Head On
But the best way to deal with the hurdles and obstacles in our lives is head-on. We must ask ourselves a series of questions. What is God seeking to teach me? Am I willing to make dramatic changes in my life if that’s His will? Am I willing to set aside my own agenda? My position? My perception of success? Am I willing to step off the path I’m on to follow God’s direction?
The best place to begin—if we have accepted Christ as our Saviour and are walking the path He has for us—is to ask God for wisdom and determination. Sometimes the obstacles are actually good things (like Lazarus’ testimony). Sometimes they are the result of poor decisions on our part; we all make them. Sometimes others really do put them in our way, deliberately trying to make us stumble. And sometimes the enemy of our souls is responsible.
But there is very good news. No matter what the hurdles are, no matter who put them in our path, we can rejoice in God’s promise in Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Let’s ask for eyes to see the obstacles as He does and for wisdom and strength to deal with them as we should.
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Images courtesy of:
Pharisees and Jesus: James Tissot
Dagger: Dani Simmonds
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