“Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.” John 12:1-2 NIV.
Sometimes we skim things while reading and miss vital points. Life is like that. We miss things. We scan people and we think we know their story. We often are mistaken.
I was reading John chapter 11 and 12 and realized that I missed some things. I overlooked a whole lot about a couple of men mentioned in those chapters and possibly because I was consumed with a lady who stole the spotlight with her broken alabaster box and her tears that washed the Masters’ feet. I lost sight of one of the men mentioned, his name is Lazarus. If someone says Lazarus, most automatically think of a dead man in a tomb for four days stinking. You think of Mary crying out to Jesus, “If you would have only gotten here sooner my brother would still be alive!” You think of Jesus saying, “Lazarus come forth!” Then you say to yourself, yeah I know Lazarus. He was the dead guy who came back to life and he and his sisters Mary and Martha lived happily ever after. Right? WRONG! That was chapter 11 and now we are in chapter 12. A whole lot can change with the turn of a page.
Stay with me as we look at the next verses. “When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to KILL Lazarus as well, for on account of HIM many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him.” John 12:9-10 NIV.
I like the way the Complete Jewish Bible words it, “The head cohanim (Chief Priest) then decided to do away with El`azar (Lazarus) too since it was because of him that large numbers of the Judeans WERE LEAVING THEIR LEADERS and putting their trust in Yeshua.” John 12:10-11 CJB.
Oh, that this would be true for Christianity today. Many have put their trust in pastors, priest, evangelist, and prophets. They follow men and look to them for wisdom and even for their own righteousness, failing to carefully study the scriptures for themselves. They flock to meetings and wait in lines for men to touch them so they can be healed, set free, and delivered. They place these men in positions of CHIEF, like the men who conspired to kill Yeshua-Jesus. The High priest was the highest office in the land, but it had become corrupt in Jesus/ Yeshua’s day. How much more corrupt in our time?
“Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many [l]signs. 48 If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” John 11:47-48 NASB.
What was their place? It was a place of power, esteem, and wealth. The greatest task of the High Priest was to enter the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement–the holiest day of the year, and to attain atonement for all Israel sins. It was a place of being highly honored, privileged, and wearing the jeweled priestly garments. It was a place where they were considered the ones who knew Yahweh’s Holy Word and were entrusted to bring truth to the people.
One man was elected as HIGH priest. The high priest that year was a man named Caiaphas. He would have been a descendant of Aaron and one equipped with all the knowledge of the Torah (Yahweh’s instructions). Why couldn’t Caiaphas look into the eyes of Jesus-Yeshua and see that He was the real deal? Caiaphas was witness to his miracles. He had heard him speak in parables with more wisdom and more power than any man ever had or will. He saw Lazarus reclining at the table with Jesus-Yeshua. He knew he had been dead 4 days. Shouldn’t he have been humbled by Jesus-Yeshua? Fearful? He was elected to the highest office in the land, CHIEF PRIEST, but one had come to take his position and to take his honor, esteem, and piety, what little he had.
“But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.” Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being the high priest that year, HE PROPHESIED THAT JESUS WAS GOING TO DIE FOR THE NATION, and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they planned together to kill Him.” John 11:49-53 NASB.
Ironic isn’t it? The man who longs for Jesus/Yeshua to be put to death so that he does not lose his priestly crown, prophesies sardonically, but in truth. From that day on they planned to kill Jesus-Yeshua. These men did not recognize The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. These men who other men thought were holier than holy, the elite of the elite, the cream of the crop, did not know The Son of the living G-d! The Bible describes the High Priest as CHIEF among his brothers. Let’s look at that.
“The priest who is chief among his brothers, on whose head the anointing oil is poured and who has been consecrated to wear the garments, shall not let the hair of his head hang loose nor tear his clothes.” Leviticus 21:10 ESV.
Caiaphas was the man the whole Jewish nation had looked to, but now their eyes were on Yeshua-Jesus. Lazarus was the man who had been dead but now walked with the living! He was proof that the one all Israel had been waiting on had come. Lazarus was a testimony to the people that one more powerful than Caiaphas had come. Lazarus now was grouped with Yeshua- as a threat. Jesus said, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” John 15:19 KJB. The world hates Jesus and Lazarus? Or is it the church folks who hate them?
Verse 17-19, “Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others about it. That was the reason so many went out to meet him–because they had heard about this miraculous sign. The Pharisees said to each other, “This is getting us nowhere. Look! The whole world is following him!” NLT.
THE WHOLE WORLD IS FOLLOWING HIM! Oh, wouldn’t that be a grand thing? Wouldn’t it be amazing if the whole world was lighting their lamps and keeping His Torah–His Feast days and His Holy Covenant? One day every knee will bow– even the knees of Caiaphas and he will have to give an account before a court greater than the Sanhedrin. One day you and I will also face this task. What fearful imagery. Thank goodness we are told in scripture that he is mindful that we are weak and fleshly.
“Also, let’s hold on to the confession since we have a great high priest who passed through the heavens, who is Jesus, God’s Son; because we don’t have a high priest who can’t sympathize with our weaknesses but instead one who was tempted in every way that we are, except without sin.” Hebrews 4:14 CEB.