Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus. (John 12:9-11)
Rejecting Visible Proof
The act of raising someone from the dead was not unique to the story of Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha. When Jesus sent the twelve disciples out, He gave them the power to heal the sick, raise the dead and have power over demons. Jairus’ daughter had been raised by Jesus as well as the widow of Nain’s son. It was clear the man from Nazareth possessed the power of the Finger of God to overcome everything in the world and in the world of the demons. Raising Lazarus from the dead took the power of Jesus further as four days had passed since the death of Lazarus and by the word of the Lord, the brother of Mary and Martha came out of the tomb alive. Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen but there were many who did not believe.
The chief priests and Pharisees called the council together to discuss what must be done with the man who could raise the dead. They could not and did not deny the miracles acknowledging that Jesus had worked many signs. Their fear was that if the popularity of Jesus continued, the Roman army would come and destroy the nation and take away the power of the Jewish leaders. Later, when Jesus returned to Bethany where Lazarus had been raised from the dead, they made the Lord a great supper with Martha serving and Lazarus sitting at the table with Jesus. Knowing that Jesus was there, a great many of the people came to the home of Mary and Martha to hear Jesus but also to see Lazarus. He had become somewhat of a popular figure since being raised from the dead. However, the chief priests and leading Jewish leaders were full of envy and made plans to kill Lazarus. The leaders hated Lazarus because he was leading many of the people away to follow Jesus.
What is remarkable about the Jewish leaders is how blind they were to the power of God. Lazarus had been dead four days and sealed inside the tomb. On the fourth day of death, the body begins to manifest visible signs of decay and yet Lazarus comes out of the tomb on the fourth day without blemish. His resurrection was a vivid example of the power of God over death. The natural reaction would be to acknowledge the grandeur of the miracle and to accept the will of God as all-powerful through the working hands of Jesus. Instead, the only thing the Jewish leaders could see was their own prejudice and hatred for Lazarus. They were jealous of the people following Jesus.
There are no miracles to witness for men today but the truth remains about the miracle of the word of God. The Bible contains the mind of God revealing His nature, His character, His power and His love. For centuries men have tried to destroy the Bible but it remains. Voltaire famously predicted the demise of the Bible but it remains constant in its circulation as the most prolific book in history. The world frowns on the Bible because, like the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day, many people find hope and comfort through the message of God’s grace. One of the reasons there are so many churches today calling themselves by different names and following varied doctrines is rooted in the rejection of truth.
The Bible is not a book hard to read and to understand. If a man on one continent reads the Bible and a man on another continent reads the Bible, they can come to the same conclusion because the miracle of the Bible is the symmetry of its message. Lazarus was a threat to the chief priests. They could not deny the miracle of his resurrection. The word of God is a threat to a hedonistic world bent on filling its coffers full of carnal pleasures but they can never deny the power of the Bible and they will never be able to destroy it. There is visible proof of the wisdom of God in the Bible. The decision is whether you will accept it or reject it.