In a perfect world, upon learning Jesus of Nazareth had raised Lazarus from the grave in nearby Bethany, the chief priests and the Pharisees would have stopped in their tracks and reconsidered Jesus’ claims to be the Son of God. His latest miracle was undeniable and it took place just down the hill from Jerusalem, not in some remote location out of sight and out of mind. And far too many Jews that had witnessed it with their own eyes. It was front-page news!

Sadly, the reality is we live in a fallen world, so even after hearing about Lazarus the priests and Pharisees just doubled down in their opposition. They didn’t deny Jesus’ miracle; there were too many witnesses among the Jews to deny it! The priests and Pharisees simply decided to cover up the evidence – to sweep it under a rug! They weren’t interested in the truth. They had a political agenda focused on keeping their own power over the religious order in Judaism and also keeping the Romans (at least for the time being) as an unholy ally for the Jewish nation.

As ugly as their behavior seems, it shouldn’t surprise us. We know there are examples throughout history of those “in power” constructing false narratives that will keep them in power. That often includes lies, cover-ups and suppressing the truth. The chief priests and Pharisees knew Jesus was working great miracles, but they decided to cover up the truth by eliminating the evidence! A living Lazarus was the power of God personified; living proof that Jesus was a miracle worker sent from God. The priests and Pharisees couldn’t deal with that. According to John 12:10, they began plotting to kill Lazarus because on account of him, many Jews believed in Jesus!

As far as we know, the Jews never did succeed in their plans to assassinate Lazarus, but within one week’s time that same spirit of darkness motivated a large crowd to gather before their Roman governor and cry out for the death of the miracle worker himself. The priests and Pharisees believed at first they had succeeded, but their belief was shattered three days later when they learned the miracle worker himself had also risen from the grave!

One great lesson from this story is that truth will surface in the end. In spite of evil efforts to cover up the truth, God’s word declares “Nothing is hidden…that will not be known and come to light.” (Lk. 8:17)

Pastor Dave Korinek

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