In the one year series, today’s Gospel reading is John 12:1-36. I encourage you to read the whole account, but we will focus on a smaller portion of the text.
–By Elizabeth Ahlman
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 ESV).
On the Saturday before the triumphal entry, Jesus spends the day in Bethany with Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. In the previous chapter of John, the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead is recorded, along with the decision of the religious teachers that it is now time to kill Jesus. When Jesus comes to Bethany again, many people go to see Him, but also to see Lazarus, who is literally living proof of Jesus’ power. Seeing this resurrection proof, the people believe in Jesus. For this reason, the chief priests decide that not only will they put Jesus to death, but they had also better put Lazarus to death.
This thinking is rather desperate, really. As if putting to death the man Jesus raised from the dead will stop the fact that it is already well-known. As if putting Lazarus to death will negate his resurrection. If they put Lazarus to death now, everyone will still know that Lazarus was the man whom Jesus raised from the dead. And if Jesus raised him once, He can certainly do it again! Even more preposterous, though, is their plot to kill Jesus. To plot to kill the Lord of Life who has demonstrated His power over death on more than one occasion (Mark 5:21-43, John 11) is also a desperate act. To think that the man who clearly has power over death cannot conquer it once and for all. Well, that’s just willful blindness. And conquer it He will, thereby drawing all people to Himself.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus Christ, You are the Resurrection and the Life, help us always to look to You in our hours of death knowing that You have conquered our death and all deaths. Open our blind eyes to see Your mercy, life, and forgiveness.
Lord, You wept over the death of Lazarus though You knew that he would be raised; be with all those who mourn and weep, walk with them in their sorrow, and comfort them. Use this Holy Week to remind them that their loved ones in the Lord, like Lazarus, will be raised again to newness of life; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
- Read yesterday’s reflection on Palm Sunday.