Day 26: Despite the obvious
Have you ever been in a disagreement with someone who has already made up their mind? Whatever facts you might have presented, they just weren’t going to budge. We are all committed to our agendas. Sometimes we can become so committed that despite obvious evidence which points in a different direction, we remain determined. How far our determination goes in the face of contrary evidence varies.
I am goal oriented. I love to focus and accomplish tasks. This trait, when used in the right proportion, can be terrific. When left unchecked, when I am going “full speed ahead without any doubt”, well let’s just say, I can be frequently wrong.
We have reached the 11th Chapter of John’s Gospel. It is the last sign that John will record, save for one at the end. Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.
John has put his best effort forward to “show the obvious”, that Jesus is the Son of God.
I find this chapter amazing. Consider how I have been inviting you, as you read about Jesus, to decide what you believe about him. The same thing was going on with all the people around Jesus.
- His disciples, who had been following him for three years...can you imagine all they witnessed?
- Then there were the religious people of the day, who seemed to be very focused on every move Jesus made, and every word he uttered.
- Then there were the crowds. Those who were kind of like his “fans”. Some fans turn into followers. Other fans hang with you so long as you are winning. Still other fans seem to just like to watch the show.
We see these groups in this encounter.
Jesus knew Lazarus would die; it was for God’s Glory.
The disciple’s reaction was not terribly positive. Thomas gives voice to it when he points out that returning to the Jerusalem area will get them killed. Can I just tell you that when I look at what Jesus calls me to do, I often think first of myself and how it might be uncomfortable for me (and I am not facing death).
Then there are Martha and Mary. Their trust in him is amazing. Even in the midst of their grief, they show great faith and there is a wonderful point here. When we show great faith, God takes us deeper. In the middle of their grief, their confidence in Jesus, leads Jesus to tell them that He is the Resurrection and Life! Their faith opens the door to go deeper with God.
I should no longer be surprised by the Pharisees' reaction, but for some reason I am. They want to kill Jesus. He raised a man from the dead, and they want to kill him.
They somehow have become so invested in their own agenda, so focused against Jesus, that even when they witness the most amazing sign, they cannot snap out of it! At the end of the story, not only is Jesus’ life in danger, but Lazarus’ life is, too. Jesus withdraws again from the area.
To be fair, the text does say that many believed; some did “snap out of it”. The ones at the top however did not. There is a lesson here for all of us.
Jesus’ power over death surrounds this scene. In fact, it is the point of this scene. Let me say that again. Jesus’ power over death is the point. If you are going to claim to be God come to earth, if you have demonstrated: your ability to create (feeding of the 5,000), your command over nature (wine and the storm), your ability to restore that which is not whole (blindness), then you restoring someone who is (very) dead remains.
Jesus is demonstrating that he is God come to earth.
The question then comes to us again, front and center, is do you believe Jesus is God?