2 Chronicles 10-12 John 11:30-57
“Then the leading priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the council. They asked, ‘What should we do? This man is doing many miracles. If we let him continue doing these things, everyone will believe in him. Then the Romans will come and take away our Temple and our nation.’” (John 11:47-48 NCV)
It was amazing. Everyone else showed up for a funeral, but Jesus confounded friend and foe alike when He called Lazarus out of the grave. A lot of people believed in Jesus because of that, which seems like an obvious response to this resurrection. Some ran straight to the Pharisees. I try to see people in the best light possible, so perhaps there were some who wanted to find out the proper religious protocol for a resurrection. The Jews had sacrifices and celebrations for just about every occasion, and if anyone knew how the Torah told people to celebrate a resurrection, the Pharisees would. Perhaps others were astounded and wanted to give the Pharisees a chance to believe. And, I’m guessing there were a few of those Pharisees’ pets who wanted to “tattle on” Jesus. Whatever the motive, the Pharisees were alarmed. If people heard about this resurrection, they’d believe in Jesus. If they started following Jesus, they’d start an insurrection and seek to overthrow the Romans which would bring the wrath of Rome upon Jerusalem. This was the final straw for the Pharisees and in an ironic historical moment, decided that by bringing life to Lazarus, Jesus deserved death.
Every time I read this story, I wish I could have been in the room with the Pharisees when this discussion was going on. The Pharisees were so concerned with the consequences of what Jesus did that they never, ever, thought about what He actually did. Everything revolved around people believing Jesus, Rome reacting to a Messiah, and them losing power. Why didn’t someone stand up in that meeting and say something like, “He just brought a guy back from the dead! Maybe there’s something to this claim that He’s the Messiah.” He probably would have been shouted down, because organized religion and all. Jesus didn’t know how to conform to the rules and in organized religion, the rules are important. People in the right positions are important. Those who upset the applecart need to be controlled. People who are different need to be ostracized. C.S. Lewis reminded us, in parable form, that Jesus isn’t tame. When the Church is living like we ought to, the Holy Spirit flows and moves and changes lives. The problem, as my pastor has said, is that while we believe in the Holy Spirit, we have issues with Him. Jesus didn’t follow the Pharisee made rules and infuriated the religious leaders. We need to be able to live so close to Jesus, under the power of the Holy Spirit, that when we break man-made religious rules, we do so under God’s leadership. When people complain about us, let them pay lip service to the fact that we’re caring for the poor, healing the sick, and feeding the hungry before they complain about us being out of [their] control. Break the shackles of religion and live in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Oh Lord, fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Let me live each day as a testimony to Your grace and presence in my life. Let me be known as one who would follow You no matter what the consequences may be.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.