Jesus didn’t leave any room for ambiguity. He demonstrated His lordship over death. Will we trust Him as Lord?
The reaction to the resurrection of Lazarus was polarizing. Many believed in Jesus because of the miracle, but others took it as a threat to their security and way of life. I’m sure it was “just business…”
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.”
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.
I believe that Jesus knew what the result of the resurrection of Lazarus would be. He knew that they would kill Him. The high priest, Caiaphas, made a remarkable statement during the leaders’ meeting,
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.”
John included his own commentary about his statement,
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.
The village called Ephraim is today called, “Tazbeh,” and is 9.5 miles Northeast of Jerusalem. We don’t know how long Jesus stayed there until time to ride the donkey’s foal into Jerusalem, but I’ll bet it wasn’t long. Jesus was much too popular to stay hidden for any extended length of time.
For me, the take-away is the deliberate “offering” of Himself to die for us. His mission was to “proclaim good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19). The only way for us to be truly free was for Him to break the power of the evil one (Hebrews 2:14-15). Jesus would go through death and “kill” it with His LIFE. He offers us that same life.
Abba, looking at the mission of Jesus shouts Your love for us. You conquered death for us so that we can experience Your life. You are amazing! May we shout for joy this coming Sunday–and every day–for Your amazing love. Amen.