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Let’s Kill Lazarus, Too

Raising LazarusI’ve always been fascinated with the last week of Jesus’ life. About one third of the gospel record is devoted to this very short period of time, so the details matter a great deal. We know that the Jewish leaders wanted Jesus dead, but did you ever notice that they wanted Lazarus dead too?

About a week before Passover, Jesus arrived in Bethany to spend some time with his friends, Lazarus (who had recently been miraculously revived from the dead by Jesus) along with Mary and Martha. With the approach of Passover, the Jewish leaders knew they had an opportunity to rally against Jesus, humiliate Him, and even had hopes of seeing him dead. But notice John 12:10-11,

Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus. (NLT)

Wow. The jealousy of the leaders toward Jesus had turned to irrational rage. No doubt they justified their feelings and intended behaviors on the grounds that they were the protectors of God’s established order of things, which Jesus had shaken up. But not only did they want Jesus dead, but anyone whose life gave testimony to the life-changing power of knowing Him.

For me, Lazarus highlights an essential element of Christ-following we often would like to ignore. To truly follow Jesus by faith and identify with Him publicly and openly means to be so associated with Him that you’re hated as His representative.

Contrast Lazarus with Joseph of Arimathea…

(After Jesus died) Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take Jesus’ body down.
~ John 19:38, NLT (emphasis mine)

This is not a rant against Joseph so much as it is a call to so fully follow Jesus that we are perfectly willing to be fully and openly identified with Jesus no matter the cost. There are places and times when being a disciple of Christ is fashionable, but those times in history are very rare. Fully following usually means a repudiation of prestige and sometimes even the loss of friends, family, votes, jobs, or even life itself.

Here’s the simple question. Would people who hate Jesus hate you too?

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  1. Kerrie Smith says:

    Wow, I guess I never thought about the Jewish leaders wanting Lazarus dead, too, but it sure makes sense. If we think about it, if anyone wanted Jesus to die, they _would want His followers dead, too, because they love Him to the extent they would do anything it took to demonstrate that they would not back down. But that would not stop them. Same thing should go for us, too. If we're so devoted to Jesus, why can't we do the same? Of course, it's because of our human frailty. We're ashamed to sho Him to others, so to speak, but didn't He say that if we're ashamed to confess Him before men, He'll be ashamed of us? I don't ever want to be ashamed of Him and if I ever have been, I so want to make that right. May that be the prayer for all of us today as we go about our daily lives.

  2. I have been hated and I have even been hated for my stance as a Christian. But your posts makes me ask the question whether or not I would be hated now.

    We should be careful not to seek the hate of this world. If we are living out our commitment to Jesus in love, the hate will be a natural byproduct from those who are resisting His Will.

    I had never paid attention to John 12:10-11. Thank you for shedding light!
    .-= Dusty Rayburn´s last blog ..A Letter to You =-.

    • No problem. And yes, we don’t seek out hate just as we wouldn’t seek out persecution (unless you’re Polycarp). My question really is if people would hate Jesus because of His truth, then am I associated closely enough with His truth to be hated along with Him. Good thoughts.

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