In the gospel of John, the key event that leads to the arrest of Jesus is when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead in John 11. Almost immediately, the Jewish rulers began to plot how they might bring about the death of Jesus. What is shocking to me is how the decision of John 11.53 (“From that day on, they plotted to take his life”) came about.
Lazarus, a close friend of Jesus and brother of Mary and Martha, has died in Bethany. When Jesus arrived four days later, his body had already been placed in a cave-like tomb and sealed with a stone. Jesus asked for the stone to be removed and told Martha if she only believed, she would see the glory of God. After the stone was removed,
Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” 45Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. (John 11.41-45)
Strike up the band and start the parade. What could be more convincing than witnessing a four day old dead man being brought back to life? Surely there could not be any doubters among the crowds in Bethany. But somehow, while many put their faith in Jesus as the Christ, some did not.
46But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. 48If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” (John 10.46-48)
Some of the eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Lazarus, saw the miraculous signs but only saw them as a threat to their “place.” Their love for the praise of others and places of significance and importance in the community prevented them from seeing the coming of the Christ. How in the world could they not hear? Jesus explained it rather simply:
He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God. (John 8.47)
Today, I am thankful that God has given me eyes to see and ears to hear. I am thankful that He has chosen to open my eyes so that I can see that the attractiveness of things like positions and possessions are at best temporary, and ultimately void of any real life. I am thankful that I have seen the miraculous signs, including the coming of the Christ into the world and His resurrection from the dead. And I continue to ask God to give me eyes to see and ears to hear so that I never choose the fading beauty of the things of this world when the glory of the Lord is on display right before my eyes.