Jesus has just raised Lazarus from the dead. Many people witnessed this event, but they had very different reactions. Some people believed that He was the Messiah; others plotted to kill Him for gaining such a big following.
They all knew the truth
We have a wrong understanding of what it means to believe in Jesus. We often view belief in Jesus as intellectual assent to the historical truth that Jesus died on the cross and rose again from the dead. However, in this story we find that no one doubted the reality of Lazarus’ resurrection. Everyone knew that Lazarus had died and that Jesus had raised him from the dead. However, many people who knew this to be true still were lost because they rejected Jesus in spite of what they knew and believed to be true. A person’s intellectual assent to facts does not make them born again. This is not saving faith.
They were scared of losing their place
The Pharisees rejected Jesus for one main reason, they would lose their place. They were far more concerned with people looking up to them than they were actually being right with God. They were far more concerned with their reputation than they were with their reality. They desired the praise of men more than the praise of God. To accept Christ was to openly acknowledge their sinfulness and need of repentance. They could not stand the thought of someone else being the center of attention and praise; They also did not want to lose their titles or power. in short they were living for their own glory, not God’s. Given the choice between God’s glory and murder, they chose murder.
They were scared of losing their nation
The Jews were looking for a political savior, someone who would overthrow the Romans. Jesus’ miraculous power gave them hope that He would be such a Savior. Instead Jesus seemed more intent on delivering the Jews from their own corruption and sinfulness than from Roman oppression. The Pharisees realized that Jesus was more concerned with the Kingdom of God than the Jewish state. If He was allowed to have His way Jews and Gentiles would be living in holiness, not under Jewish rule by the Pharisees like they wanted. This is why in a few short weeks the Jews would scream for Barabbas instead of Jesus. Barabbas was a political revolutionary who was trying to overthrow the Roman government by any means necessary, including murder. The Jews would stop at nothing, including murder, to have their political ambitions realized. Jesus had to be removed.
We must value Jesus Christ above all
We are in grave danger of being like the Jews. We can believe that we are right with God because we believe the resurrection to be a historical fact. However, like the Jews we are willing to trade Jesus for place and nation. We can become more concerned with our reputation than Jesus’ glory and name. We can seek to hide our sins and trust in our own righteousness to avoid repentance or public confession of sin. We can become so politically consumed that we will throw Jesus under the bus to gain the White House or fill the next Supreme Court seat. However, this is literally unbelief. Biblical faith in Jesus is to believe that you were created to glorify God. You have sinned and sought glory for yourself. God in His love, mercy, and grace sent Jesus to die bearing the wrath of God for your sins. He rose again from the dead to transform you and give you a new life. If you will cast aside your self, your sins, and your reputation He will forgive you to the praise of His glorious grace. There is no position or nation that has more value than Jesus Christ. We must be willing to sacrifice them both for the glory of His name and the advancement of His Kingdom.
Will you repent of valuing place or nation above Jesus Christ?