John 12:10. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well.
Oh, what we wouldn’t do to hold onto our power and authority! Here we have a walking miracle, Lazarus, whose very name is now synonymous with hope and radical healing. Many people traveled far to see the man who was raised from the dead, and to see the man who raised him. Lazarus’ resurrection was a foreshadowing of the victory to come and a living, breathing example of God’s wild love. The Pharisees could have joined the throng of people in curiosity and wonder, but they had become to comfortable in their view of God and the authority this view gave them. The wild, messy, radical love of Jesus represented a God far different from theirs, and it struck fear in their hearts. They saw Lazarus, and especially Jesus, as a threat. So they abandoned the invitation to hope, gave into fear, and conspired to keep an authority that was never theirs. The end result? Hatred. Betrayal. Death.
It’s easy to judge the Pharisees. They are ancient and feel far away due to the passage of time. Their mistakes are clear in Scripture and we use them as warnings for our own lives. But are they really that far away?
As C. S. Lewis said, “The only things we can keep are the things we freely give to God. What we try to keep for ourselves is just what we are sure to lose” (Mere Christianity). The Pharisees desperately fought to keep their control of society, but ended up losing everything, including their souls. What are we desperately trying to keep control of? What do we need to let go of in order to be swept up in the all-consuming, life-giving love of Jesus?