Following the resurrection of Lazarus, a large number of the friends of Martha and Mary “believed on him.” But here we see the divisive nature of truth. While some accepted Him as their Lord, others refused to worship Jesus as the Messiah. Even though they had just witnessed a man who was dead being raised back to life, a handful of the siblings’ friends hurried back to Jerusalem to tell the chief priests and the Pharisees that Jesus was back at it.
Jesus had turned the water into wine in Cana, demonstrating to His disciples and to the servants that He was indeed Christ. He had then healed the nobleman’s son in Capernaum. Next in Jerusalem, He had healed the man who had been lame for 38 years. Along the Sea of Galilee, He had taken a little boy’s lunch-able and miraculously multiplied it to feed 5,000-plus people. Following this astonishing miracle, Jesus had then walked across the Sea of Galilee to meet His disciples on the water in the middle of a storm. More recently in Jerusalem, He had healed the man born blind. That had never been done before. That was new. But it was not as novel as what just happened in Bethany. There at Bethany, Lazarus had been dead for four days. The grieving and consolation was well underway and people from everywhere had arrived in time to see Jesus come and raise Lazarus from the dead.
In response the religious leaders formed a council that would be able to come up with a solution to their Jesus problem. The council meeting began with one member proclaiming what all of them had now realized, “He is doing too many miracles. Before long everyone will believe on Him.” He certainly was doing a large number of miracles, and there was quickly becoming a large faction of Jerusalem and the surrounding country side that was beginning to believe that He was in fact the Messiah.
“One man should die for the people.” This was the great plan. All along, they wanted to kill Jesus, so when Caiaphas muttered these words, very few people took note. Many of the men in the room had already been present on one of the four previous occasions there in Jerusalem where they were ready to stone Jesus. Killing Jesus was the plan, but John makes a special side note here in the text for the reader. Since Caiaphas was the high priest, God could still speak prophetically through Him, even if He was a corrupt man. Now, God had used Caiaphas, the High Priest of the Jewish religious system, to be the first person besides Jesus to articulate the reality of the gospel. Many had been saying that Jesus would save them, but Caiaphas was the first one besides Jesus to say that it would be through the death of Jesus that all of the people would be saved.
With the trouble stirring in Jerusalem, Jesus took His disciples and headed away from the unrest. Even thought Jesus was gone from Jerusalem, as the next major feast approached, a few of the Jewish leaders began to get uneasy. It was when the large crowds were gathered in Jerusalem that Jesus showed up to attend the feasts too. With the Passover feast looming on the horizon, perhaps Jesus and His followers would be returning. For the first time, the religious leaders were proactive. They established a new law across the town – if anyone knew where Jesus was, or anyone saw Him in Jerusalem, they must come immediately to the chief priests and tell them. In Jerusalem, the net was finally set. If Jesus tried to sneak back in, the Jewish leaders would catch him and finally kill him.
Food For Thought: Even after seeing Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead, why would people not believe on Him, but instead run back to Jerusalem to tell the High Priests? (Give at least two reasons)