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Friday, March 18, 2011

3/19/11 John 11:45-54 Reaction to Lazarus's resurrection

45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.  “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” 49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” 51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life. 54 Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea. Instead he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.

(Jesus Raising Lazarus- Early Christian fresco in catacombs under Rome)

Thoughts: When the power of God is seen, a dividing point occurs: you believe or you turn away.  Here the ruling body of the Jews of that day not only turned away but sought a way to persecute Jesus so that they would keep their power.  So the Sanhedrin already prejudged Jesus.  They did not care that a resurrection took place.  It was evident that they were much more concerned about political power than the power of God.  In the end, every earthly power must bow to God's power.  So even Caiaphas, who took part in the crucifixion of Jesus, unknowingly prophesied His sacrificial death. Many believed and later would go in the Palm Sunday processional into Jerusalem saying, "Hosanna", but many would shout "Crucify." 

Prayer: Lord, let not me be enthralled with titles, with money, with fame.  Instead, give me a longing to please you above every earthly thing- whether I have much or little.

John Calvin Abridged:  Jesus allowed the miracle of Lazarus to bear fruit.  Miracles have a twofold use: to 1) prepare us for faith or 2) confirm us in our faith.  In contrast, how blind, mad, impious and ungrateful are those who accuse Christ.  The resurrection of Lazarus should have softened even hearts of stone.  But there is no work of God that impiety does not try to corrupt with poisonous bitterness. So, before miracles can bear fruit, hearts must be softened by God.  Those who have no fear of God will never acknowledge a miracle even if heaven and earth were merged together rejecting sound doctrine with impious ingratitude.

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