The Plot to Kill Lazarus
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, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus. (John 12:9-11)
This man [Nicodemus] came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” (John 3:2)
Imagine a religion so apostate that the leaders and adherents of it plot to kill the person upon whom had been given the greatest supernatural blessing and sign directly from God- resurrection. And it’s not that the Pharisees didn’t know that Jesus was from God, Nicodemus tells us they did.
The evil of the religion as it had become when Jesus arrived is something we often forget to look upon in horror and disgust. Jesus certainly did. Wolves bring leaven.
Yet to tolerate spiritual leaven is to invite apostasy. Christians seem more interested in following the super gentle, easy-to-follow, blonde haired, blue eyed, Caucasian surfer Jesus instead of the one that beckons us to pick up our crosses, follow him, and seek the lost (Matt. 10:38) (CARM)
The Pharisees had piled hundreds of laws onto the Jews over time, a total of 614 had been invented by them by the time Jesus came. The People were staggering under the weight of Law and worse, the Pharisees displayed no grace to help alleviate their burden. Only hypocrisy. Therefore, Jesus was incensed at what was done in His name.
After Lazarus’ resurrection, the people continued to bear witness of Jesus’ sign.
The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.” (John 12:17-19)
The leaven the false ones bring always includes self-satisfaction. The Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes were in it for themselves, not the glory of God. It’s the same today.
To tolerate this spiritual leaven means to invite apostasy. Like leaven, error gradually creeps into the church and spreads to all parts, causing the whole to elevate itself with pride and do what is right in one’s own eyes instead of that which is right in God’s. 2 Thess. 2:3 speaks about the great apostasy that is coming. However, it cannot occur without a host of lesser apostasies within the Church that will ultimately deceive Christians and prepare the ground for the arrival of Antichrist. (CARM)
Apostasy is evil and its deepening never stops. It only progresses. It winds up to a point where the leaders of it want to kill the very man, Lazarus, who could bear witness to the power and grace of a holy God just by the fact that he could draw breath. The apostate wants no such Good News however. He seeks to stop it and silence it in any way possible. Death, that’s what apostasy brings. Praise God that He sent His Son to witness to the grace and mercy of His Holy Name. Rather than seeking to kill, we seek to love, build up, and we remain in His hand until the day He returns or brings us home.