John 12:9-11 – The large crowd of the Jews then learned that He [Jesus] was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead. But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also; because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus.
I never thought about this, but this passage makes me realize something. It takes a lot of effort not to believe in Jesus!
Here’s a man standing before them who gives testimony to being DEAD. When Jesus walked into the edge of his town and radically changed his world, he had been in the tomb for four days. The Jews traditionally buried their dead within twenty-four hours, so he had died about five days earlier. In Mary’s words, his body was already decaying; we could say he was stinking dead!
Jesus comes on the scene, apparently late to the party according to Mary and Martha. They knew Jesus’ power to heal the sick and were confused and grieved that He had delayed coming to rescue Lazarus from the illness that took his life. Jesus weeps with them in their grief, and then raises His voice and does the unthinkable…the unbelievable!
He calls Lazarus out of the grave. And Lazarus comes alive and walks out of the tomb, still wrapped in his grave clothes.
What rejoicing and shouting and crying must have taken place! The Bible doesn’t give us the details, but we can imagine the joy that filled their little home that evening, as they sat around the table and kept pinching Lazarus to convince themselves that he really was alive. Oh my…I wish God would have recorded what Lazarus told them about his experience during death, and how he felt when he heard the voice of his beloved friend Jesus calling him back!
On the other hand, there were the naysayers. The haters. The ones who saw it happen right before their eyes, and still refused to believe. They couldn’t wait to get back to Jerusalem and report the latest juicy piece of gossip about this Jesus who was causing such uproar in their religious society.
How dare He raise someone from the dead! People were going to start following this miracle worker! They held tightly to their power and their position, denying the irrefutable evidence of His power to bring life to the dead.
It takes more effort not to believe in Jesus than it does to believe.
What evidence have you seen that God is who He says He is?
Whose life have you seen changed, giving undeniable testimony to the power of God?
What part of creation boggles your mind, unexplainable except in the light of a divine Creator?
What joy have you observed in the face of despair and pain, a joy that could only come from Someone greater than the human heart?
Our world is filled with undeniable, inexplicable miracles every day in the lives of those who believe, as well as physical evidence of a created world so detailed, so organized, so unbelievably amazing. How much evidence will it take for you to see what is right in front of you?
The Pharisees stood face to face with a man who had been dead for five days but walked out of the grave because of the power of Jesus. And instead of worshipping the One who performed the miracle, they wanted to kill the miracle. They plotted to put him to death, to close his mouth, to hide the evidence, to keep the world from seeing who Jesus really was.
That’s the thing, you know. When people tell you to sit down and be quiet and stop talking about Jesus, they are giving evidence that what you are saying is true. They don’t want to hear it, because if they hear it and see it, they might start believing themselves, and when that happens, there goes their power and position.
Oh, my friend! If you are like Lazarus, one of those who have been brought from death to life, keep telling your story! You are irrefutable evidence that Jesus is alive, and He is who He says He is. Don’t let the Pharisees in your life scare you into hiding.
And if you’re like the Pharisees, unwilling to believe the evidence that is all around you, I pray that you realize how much God loves you, so much that He would send His Son, Jesus, to die for you, so that you, too, can have life…just like Lazarus!