When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.
I like mystery novels and detective television shows. I enjoy trying to figure out “who done it” before the answer is revealed. In any good novel or show, there is always a motive and the motive is based upon sin -- greed, jealousy, hate, you know the list. And in every sin there is always the ingredient of fear. Fear of exposure, fear of losing, fear. The religious authorities in today’s reading are no different than the characters in mystery novels or television shows or us -- they are afraid. They are afraid when confronted with the possibility of loss.
In the Gospel of John, there are two separate, yet important acts of raising the dead: Lazarus and Jesus. We of course know the importance of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. But how important was the raising of Lazarus? Extremely! The chief priests began to plan the death of Jesus because of the response of the people to Jesus’ raising of Lazarus. The people were beginning to believe that Jesus was the Word, the Word was God, and the Word “became flesh and lived.” The prophecy of the Messiah was fulfilled in their lifetime.
The chief priests were afraid. Some commentaries say the priests were afraid of losing personal power and prestige; others suggest that they were afraid the Romans would attack and kill the people or destroy the Temple if there were any “problems.” The key to understanding the actions of the priests is their fear. So in their fear they decided to kill Jesus AND Lazarus. They needed to get rid of the body -- the proof. What the priests failed to understand is that getting rid of the body would not change the fact of the miracle of life -- too many people had seen; too many had heard, too many believed -- even if it was only One.
Now you are the body of Christ ~1 Cor. 12:27
Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which the compassion
of Christ is to look out on a hurting world.
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless now. ~Teresa of Avila
Rev. Julie Smith is pastor of the Sesser-Valier UMC charge.