“When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.” (John 12:9-11)
As the scene continues to unfold of Jesus attending a banquet in Bethany six days before the Passover (John 12:1) we have witnessed the devotion of Mary contrasted with the greed and criticism of Mary by Judas.
In today’s text, we also witness the murderous intentions of the Jewish religious leaders. Their hatred of Jesus is spilling over to include those who are friends of Jesus or those who Jesus healed. Lazarus for example.
The reason was the Jews want Lazarus dead is because of him, many of the Jews were believing in Jesus. The religious leaders would not stand for this any longer. They were showing their true colors as to the kind of persons they really were rather than what they seemed to be
One commentator puts today’s text in proper perspective. “While Jesus is in Bethany, John tells us, a large crowd of Jews comes to see Him. Remember that Jesus is in Bethany, located about two miles outside of Jerusalem (vv. 1–2). Since the Passover is at hand, many of these Jews are likely pilgrims who live elsewhere but have come to the Holy City in order to celebrate the feast. They have heard of the raising of Lazarus, and they have come to see him in the flesh as well as to see the One who brought him back to life (v. 9).”
Dr. R. C. Sproul explains that, “The pettiness and jealousy of the religious leaders is seen in their response to this phenomenon. Instead of being grateful that God is working in their midst and that Lazarus, their fellow Jew, is alive again, they plot to put Lazarus to death (vv. 10–11). Matthew Henry labels this “an instance of the most brutish rage that could be,” and the evidence certainly bears this out. Petty jealousy has so consumed the religious authorities that they have been reduced, as it were, to an animalistic state of violence. They have lost converts and they blame not themselves but rather the man whom Jesus has healed. Such ire is wicked indeed.”
John Calvin writes, “It certainly was worse than insane fury to endeavor to put to death one who had manifestly been raised from the dead by divine power. But such is the spirit of giddiness with which Satan torments the wicked, so that there is no end of their madness, even though God should bring heaven and earth and sea to oppose them. The power of God was not dimly seen in the resurrection of Lazarus since ungodliness could contrive no other method of banishing it from remembrance than by perpetrating a base and shocking murder on an innocent man.”
James 3:13-18 says, “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
Let us continually be on our guard against Satan and his devious ways.
Happy Reformation Day!
Soli deo Gloria!