I’ve read about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead a time or two. But when I read John’s account again last week, something new grabbed my attention.
Which is something I adore about scripture. But that’s a different post.
After Jesus, exhibiting God-like qualities, raised Lazarus from the dead, John reports that a lot of Jews started believing in Jesus. This ticked off the Jewish leaders, in part because they didn’t believe Jesus was God, and in part because they didn’t want to catch flack from the Roman government over the Jesus brouhaha.
So guess who the Jewish leaders wanted to kill?
Did you guess Jesus?
And I was wrong.
Or partly wrong.
They did want to kill Jesus, but they also wanted to kill somebody else. John 12:9-10 reads, “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…”
Why in the world would Lazarus be on their hit list? He hadn’t asked to be raised from the dead… And, honestly, what good will killing him do? It wouldn’t erase his resurrection from history… There would still be people who had witnessed his resurrection telling others about it…
Verse 11 tells us the logic the Jewish leaders were using to justify their desire to murder Lazarus, “…for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him,” (John 12:11).
Jews weren’t believing Jesus was the Messiah because of Jesus’ teachings or the disciples’ following Him or the rumors they’d heard about Jesus’ miracles in distant lands. They were putting their faith in Jesus because Lazarus – a man they knew from their town – was living proof of Jesus’ power.
Not only was he most likely verbalizing his belief in Jesus’ deity, Lazarus’ very life – his breathing and walking – was a testimony to Jesus’ godness.
Lazarus’ existence was so compelling, the Jewish leaders felt they needed to eliminate him.
As I read verse 11, you can guess what questions came to mind. On account of me, are many people believing in Jesus? Are any?
I talk a lot about Jesus. I say the Gospel often. But does my existence – my life – what I do – encourage others to believe?
Your initial objection might be, “Yeah, but we haven’t been raised from the dead like Lazarus, so our physical existence isn’t quite as compelling as his was…”
Have we not?
Believers in Christ have been born again in a spiritual sense – resurrected from spiritual deadness and given new life through Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). In a much more significant way than Lazarus, we’ve been raised spiritually. We have a story to tell. A story that will compel others to come to Jesus and believe in Him.
Are we telling it?
We have the ability to live new lives by the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8, Romans 8:11-12). Our existences – our breathing and our walking – should look supernatural to those who don’t know Christ.
Who is believing in Jesus on account of you?
At the end of the day, that’s all that matters…