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Saturday, September 25, 2010

9-26-10 John 12:9-11 The Problem of Lazarus

9 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. 10 So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.

(The author climbing up from Lazarus' tomb June 2010)

Thoughts: Lazarus was a problem for the Jews.  He was a walking, living testimony to the power of Christ.  There was a crowd of people who had seen Lazarus' resurrection, and could testify to his death in Bethany- just over the hill of the Mount of Olives (and just a few miles from Jerusalem).  For Jesus to heal a blind man is one thing, but to raise someone from the dead is totally different, for death is the ultimate sickness that comes to us all.  One tradition says Lazarus went to France (but most scholars say that is a later tradition that confuses the biblical Lazarus with a bishop named Lazarus d. 407).  A stronger tradition says Lazarus was not killed, and after Jesus died he lived another thirty years and perhaps went to Cyprus.  Wherever Lazarus went, he was a living testimony to the power of Jesus. 
     The problem for atheists today are those Christians who are changed by the power of Christ.  The drug addict who stays off drugs; the marriage that is saved; the weak who are strengthened.  The witness of Christ is found best in the living testimony of lives changed.

Prayer: Lord, you are the resurrection and the life.  May your power in me be a living testimony to others of your amazing presence and grace.

John Calvin abridged:  As Christ neared his death, powerful testimonies were given that people would not be overcome by the sadness of the cross.  One testimony was the recent miracle of Lazarus.  It is insane fury to put to death one who had been raised from the dead.  The enemies of Christ were not just mistaken or foolish, but purposefully wicked, so that they did not even shrink from making war on God.  This also tells us that God's power was not dimly seen in the resurrection of Lazarus.

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